To help people fight Parkinson's disease and other disabilities, a local dance academy offers free dance classes twice a week.

It's making a big difference for some Concho Valley residents battling this terrible disease. It's appropriately called "Dance for Parkinson's."

Three years ago, Frank Spatharos, 65, was diagnosed with the disease which gets worse over time.

"When you're done with our session, you feel like you've accomplished something," Spatharos said.

His wife, Diana Spatharos, said, "I noticed his hands were shaking early on and asked him to go to the doctor," she said. "He found out he had Parkinson's and we've been just dealing with it ever since."

Another participant in the class is Jim McCutchen. He has health issues as well.

"We're all here because we're working with problems," McCutchen said.

Erin Lane is with Ballet San Angelo, the local academy, which holds the dance classes.

"We've had people come in with walkers," she said. "Then all of sudden, they just want to try doing class without a walker that day," Lane said. "We had someone today stand up for the first time."

An architect by day, Susan Kinney is just there to help.

"This is volunteer for me," Kinney said. "I meet a whole new group of people that I wouldn't have known in the San Angelo community," she said.

Most importantly, this group realizes there are others there to lean on.

"The people get to know each other, there's camaraderie," Frank said.

"It doesn't make us feel so isolated and lonely with our problems," McCutchen said.

The classes are held at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and 11:30 a.m. on Saturdays.

Again, they're free and meant to help others.

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