KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Living with a debilitating disease can change a person’s life but there are local organizations working to make life a little easier. One group is using equine therapy to bring comfort to those living with Parkinson’s Disease. 

When you are going through life’s unexpected battles, sometimes all you need is a little grace.

“There’s a whole lot of people in East Tennessee that are hurting with the same thing. I’m hurting with it. It’s, it’s been fun to meet new people and new adventures,” retired WATE Meteorologist Matt Hinkin said.

Hinkin knows what it means to have to slow down and pivot with life’s health battles.

“We’ve always said that there is no, no cure for it yet, for Parkinson’s. But there are ways to sustain this through care groups and communities that come together. We talked tonight about community,” he said.

A major part of his community is PJ Parkinson’s Support, a non-profit that finds ways to bring comfort and support to those living with Parkinson’s Disease. 

One of their many services includes equine therapy. The group works with the Two Step Revolution Equestrian Center in Knoxville. They met a horse named Grace and used non-toxic paint to express their feelings while being coached by a mental health care provider and an equine therapist. 

“And there’s this aspect with anxiety and depression and they really jumped on there to say, ‘you know, that’s a great idea.’ Let’s start something for people with Parkinson’s and we had the first session, and everybody loved it,” Executive Director Isabell Senft-Daniel said.

She added that the group holds weekly sessions and there is a waiting list. 

Parkinson’s is a brain disorder that causes shaking, stiffness and difficulty with balance. The group finds out they have something in common with their therapy horse.

“When they brought out the horse. So, touching the horses and, and feeling you know what the horse feels and in the end, we learned the horse was disabled themselves,” Senft-Daniel said.  

While living with Parkinson’s can be tough they are learning to give themselves a little grace along the way. 

“Can’t complain anything about that I’m still trucking along,” Hinkin said.

For more information, visit the Facebook pages PJ Parkinson’s and Two Step Revolution.