Let’s move

and put an end to Parkinson's Disease!


Shake It Off, Inc., is incorporated in Pennsylvania. Shake It Off was founded by Christopher Cianci, D.C. after his wife Jodi was diagnosed with Young Onset Parkinson's disease. They were told by one doctor that she could either do ‘nothing’ or take ‘some meds’, but for this athletic couple, these were not options. They started a journey to find how they could fight back. The newlyweds visited Dr. Jay Alberts at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio where he conducted research on biking, the brain, and Parkinson’s. Evidence showed a 35% reduction in symptoms of those with PD by the simple act of pedaling a bicycle at 80-90 RPMs for 45 minutes, three times a week. Further, new research shows, it may even slow the progression. Jodi has been doing a version of Dr. Albert’s program by taking spinning classes 3 times a week and the results thus far have been remarkable. After only 6 weeks of cycling, Chris was the first to notice a return in her fine motor skills. She was able to use her right hand again and her once small handwriting looked as legible as it did 15 years prior to her diagnosis.

We are raising funds to help the over 6 million people world wide who have PD by finding treatments that could slow or stop the progression of Parkinson’s disease,  i.e., exercise.  To date our proceeds have gone to: Cleveland Clinic, Davis Phinney Foundation, University of Delaware, and Michael J. Fox. We are run solely by volunteers.

Shake It Off wants those affected by this disease to know that they too can "shake off" Parkinson’s by focusing on fitness and exercise to help relieve the symptoms, until a cure is found.

our story

Exercise Rate Related to Improvements in                 Parkinson’s Disease

November 26, 2012 CHICAGO – People with Parkinson's disease benefit from exercise programs on stationary bicycles, with the greatest effect for those who pedal faster, according to a study presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA). Functional connectivity magnetic resonance imaging (fcMRI) data showed that faster pedaling led to greater connectivity in brain areas associated with motor ability.Parkinson's disease is a chronic, progressive disorder of the central nervous system. Early-stage symptoms like shaking and difficulty with walking eventually may progress to cognitive and behavioral problems such as dementia.

An estimated 7 to 10 million people worldwide live with Parkinson's disease, according to the Parkinson's Disease Foundation, with most cases occurring after the age of 50.As the disease progresses and the frequency of side effects increases, the therapeutic window begins to close. Deep brain stimulation is an effective therapy for late-stage Parkinson's disease, but is an invasive and costly procedure. Exercise is thought to have beneficial effects on Parkinson's disease.

Jay L. Alberts, Ph.D., neuroscientist at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute in Cleveland, saw this firsthand in 2003 when he rode a tandem bicycle across Iowa with a Parkinson's disease patient to raise awareness of the disease. The patient experienced improvements in her symptoms after the ride. "The finding was serendipitous," Dr. Alberts recalled. "I was pedaling faster than her, which forced her to pedal faster. She had improvements in her upper extremity function, so we started to look at the possible mechanism behind this improved function."As part of this inquiry, Dr. Alberts, researcher Chintan Shah, B.S., and their Cleveland Clinic colleagues, recently used fcMRI to study the effect of exercise on 26 Parkinson's disease patients. "By measuring changes in blood oxygenation levels in the brain, fcMRI allows us to look at the functional connectivity between different brain regions," Shah said.The patients underwent bicycle exercise sessions three times a week for eight weeks. Some patients exercised at a voluntary level and others underwent forced-rate exercise, pedaling at a speed above their voluntary rate. The researchers used a modified exercise bike to induce forced-rate activity. "We developed an algorithm to control a motor on the bike and used a controller to sense the patient's rate of exertion and adjust the motor based on their input," Dr. Alberts said. fcMRI was conducted before and after the eight weeks of exercise therapy and again as follow-up four weeks later. The research team calculated brain activation and connectivity levels from the fcMRI results and correlated the data with average pedaling rate. Results showed increases in task-related connectivity between the primary motor cortex and the posterior region of the brain's thalamus. Faster pedaling rate was the key factor related to these improvements, which were still evident at follow-up."The results show that forced-rate bicycle exercise is an effective, low-cost therapy for Parkinson's disease," Shah said.Dr. Alberts noted that that while faster pedaling led to more significant results, not all Parkinson's patients need to do forced-rate exercise to see improvement."We're now looking at this phenomenon in patients with exercise bikes in their home," he said, "and other exercises like swimming and rowing on tandem machines may provide similar benefits." Source: Radiological Society of North America


mission & vision

No need is too small and no voice is too quiet to be heard. We will devote the time and energy necessary to educate and advocate the need to exercise.


Volunteer for us each year and make the difference in the lives of those affected by Parkinson's. Find out how to become our partner.

recent events

Charitable events include Comedy Night, 5k Race, Zumbathon(r) and Bike Rides.


             How we got our name

A parable is told of a farmer who owned an old mule. The mule fell into the farmer's well. The farmer heard the mule 'braying'. After carefully assessing the situation, the farmer sympathized with the mule, but decided that neither the mule nor the well was worth the trouble of saving. Instead, he called his neighbors together and enlisted them to help haul dirt to bury the old mule in the well and put him out of his misery.

Initially, the old mule was hysterical! But as the farmer and his neighbors continued shoveling and the dirt hit the mule’s back, the mule shook the dirt off. Suddenly dawned on the mule that every time a shovel load of dirt landed on his back he should shake it off and step up on the dirt pile! This he did, blow after blow.

"Shake it off and step up...shake it off and step up!" the mule repeated to encourage himself. No matter how painful the blows, or distressing the situation seemed the old mule fought "panic" and just kept right on SHAKING IT OFF AND STEPPING UP!

It wasn't long before the old mule, battered and exhausted, stepped triumphantly over the wall of that well! What seemed like a situation that would bury him, actually blessed him...all because of the manner in which he handled his adversity.

THAT'S LIFE! If we face our problems and respond to them positively, and refuse to give in to panic, bitterness, or self-pity. The moral of the story—the adversities that come along to bury us usually have within them the potential to benefit and bless us!

Articles on shake it off

current local research

exercise & pd

Dr. Christopher Knight of the Exercise Neuroscience Lab at the University of Delaware is conducting exciting research for those with Parkinson's Disease. Researchers are conducting studies on cycling for the relief from Parkinson's tremors. Click on the logo above to read more about the research.

"Taking care of my body today through exercise gives me hope for tomorrow."
~Jodi Cianci

Parkinson's disease is a chronic, degenerative neurological disorder whose symptoms can progress from mild tremors to complete physical incapacitation. In the United States 60,000 new cases of PD will be diagnosed this year alone. While the average age of onset is 60, an estimated five to 10 percent of people with PD experience onset at age 50 or younger.  There is no known cure...but there is hope!


don't lose hope