Our Staff

Mary Neilans– Executive Director

After attending the World Parkinson Congress in 2013, Mary was inspired to head to Indianapolis to complete the Rock Steady Boxing certification and return to Canada to share the successful Rock Steady Boxing philosophy and program in Toronto.

Mary's background, education, and experience have focused on research, writing, and training, in the areas of human rights, equality, and disability awareness. Through her work with people living with Parkinson's Disease, she has seen the many benefits of high-intensity exercise.

As Executive Director at Rock Steady Boxing Toronto, Mary serves as an Advocate and Support Coach for all participants. She understands that it's not only the high-energy exercises and training that motivates boxers with Parkinson's, but it's also the support and camaraderie that make the Rock Steady experience literally life-changing.

Her goal is to ensure that the Rock Steady Boxing Toronto program is available to all who can benefit from it. Mary focuses on outreach, promotion, and providing information and support to all participants and others who are interested in discovering more about Rock Steady Boxing.

In addition to her role with Rock Steady Boxing, Mary also delivers empowering self-management training workshops to people living with Parkinson’s disease and their care partners. She also serves as an ongoing advocate to advance awareness about Parkinson’s disease through her writing and presentations.

 

Lita Mae Button - Coach

Lita Mae Button

Lita Mae “Badass” Button has been in competitive sports most of her life. At 12 years old, she was a National level competitive swimmer for 5 years. At 18, she began North American Kickboxing, which lasted 3 years. This allowed her to experience a few fights and a taste of what its like to compete in a combat sport. At 23 years old, she became a sole support mother to her son Kiya. Then at 25, Lita sought out an outlet to help her effectively deal with the emotional issues associated with raising a child with a blood disorder. It was then she began training in Olympic Style Boxing.

Within 11 years, she had competed in 45 Amateur Fights and has gone 1-1 as a Professional Boxer. During this time, Lita Mae has also earned her degree as a Registered Nurse, while completing a number of Fitness Certifications and has worked as a trainer and therapist with people living with Parkinson’s disease.

Qualifications:

  • Rock Steady Boxing coaching certification
  • Public Speaking Competent Communicator with Toastmasters International
  • BScN (Ontario Registered Nurse certification)
  • ISSA Personal Trainer and Exercise Therapist
  • Agatsu Indian Club Workshop
  • Level 1 Kanama High Performance Olympic Weightlifting Certification
  • Level 1 Boxing Ontario Coaching Certification
  • Agatsu Level 1 Kettlebell Certification
  • Agatsu Level 1- Joint and Mobility Certification

 

James McClelland - Coach

James McClelland

Fitness and exercise have always been a big part of James’ life. Helping people improve their health and wellbeing is the reason he loves being a fitness and health coach.

With a background in Fitness and Health Promotion and over 7 years of experience training a wide variety of clients, including amateur athletes and business executives, James enjoys the challenge of adapting exercises, coaching styles, and training techniques to diverse audiences.

Having had a close family member with Parkinson's disease, James is excited to be able to work with Rock Steady boxers every day to make a difference and have a positive impact on improving the lives of people living with Parkinson's.

Qualifications:

  • Rock Steady Boxing coaching certification
  • Fitness and Health Promotion, Humber College
  • CanFit Pro Certified Personal Trainer
  • FKCI Level 1 Kickboxing Instructor Certification
  • CPR/AED/First Aid
  • Certified Yoga Instructor