Melissa Tafoya Empowers People with Parkinson’s to Live Well

Melissa Tafoya and Denise Coley - Davis Phinney Foundation

If you’ve ever thought, “I’d love to do something, but I just don’t know what or where to start”, consider taking a few ideas from Melissa Tafoya’s playbook.

Melissa is, among other things, a Rock Steady Boxing affiliate owner in Sacramento who is rallying people together and creating a powerful community of advocates who are doing their part to bring health disparities to light and make change one punch at a time.

We recently sat down with Melissa and Denise Coley to talk about how and why they came together and what they’re up to. We also threw out some big ideas and ways you can get involved.

Melissa and Denise are shining examples to all of us that you don’t have to know what you’re doing or where you’re going in order to take the first step. Thank you, both, for inspiring all of us.

Melissa TafoyaMelissa Tafoya is an activist and advocate for people with Parkinson’s to provide hope and improve quality of life. She is a pint-sized powerhouse with a mountain of creativity, experience, and purpose and has been training and coaching special populations for nearly a decade. Growing up she felt different. She was incredibly shy and terrified of the world. In elementary school, she found her voice on the playground. She was known as the Mini Mike Tyson of tetherball. Melissa grew to be a voice for others who were too shy or misunderstood. Little did she know it would define her destiny to start Rock Steady Boxing Sacramento. She put her love of hitting things and defending others together. This worldwide affiliate fight family is evidenced-based, non-contact boxing designed to improve quality of life for Parkinson’s fighters.

Denise ColeyDenise Coley is the founder of Enable Your Vision, a firm that provides supplier diversity consulting to drive economic vitality for diverse businesses, corporations, and the communities in which they reside.

For more than two decades, Coley’s leadership and vision have had and continue to have a significant impact not only on the number one IT company in the world’s global supplier diversity business development activities, but also those of the national and international supplier diversity communities. Since being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2018, she has been focused on a multidisciplinary approach: pulling together a team (medical, fitness (rock steady boxing, tai chi, personal training, yoga, etc.), myofascial therapy, sleep, breathing techniques, and support groups) to help navigate and manage the Parkinson’s journey.

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