By Andrew Wroblewski
Farzana Ali attends Huntington’s Title Boxing Club’s workout sessions just like any of its other members. She’s consistently attended at least four classes a week ever since signing up in late October, boxes alongside the other men and women in her classes and has fun doing it.
But there is one thing about Ali that sets her apart from the other members: she’s a complete quadriplegic bound to a wheelchair – but that hasn't slowed her down in the slightest.
“I had been looking for a place to start boxing and went to other clubs on Long Island, but was struggling to find one that was right for me,” Ali, of Bay Shore, said. “Steve Stone [general manager at Title] invited me in to check out the place and see a session… I loved it from the very first day – it just felt like home from the beginning.”
In October 2005, Ali was involved in a car crash that killed one of her siblings and left her with a spinal cord injury that has paralyzed her legs, left her with limited movement of her arms and no movement of her fingers. The driver of the vehicle that struck Ali and her family – she was riding home with her mother and father, sister and aunt – was drunk.
Since then, Ali has worked hard to hone her motor skills and range – and she’s taken the next step in doing so by boxing at Title.
“It’s the only workout that I can do independently,” Ali, 31, said. “That’s why I like it.”
At Title, Ali fits right in – she jokes around with her trainers in between punches, smiles while discussing upcoming events and classes with Stone, and works the gym’s floor with her wheelchair to participate in the different workouts.
“She motivates everybody,” Stone said. “She’s a part of the family here. After I spoke to her, and she told me about her injury, I knew what she could do and what she couldn’t do… [Here] we cater to every ability, not ‘disability,’ [so] we’ve structured her workout to fit her specific needs from the time the bell goes off.”
Before the accident, Ali wasn’t much of a fitness buff, she said, but she’s since learned that she needs to keep up with her workouts in order to preserve her abilities. Rather than rely on a personal trainer, Ali wanted to find a place that could fit her needs and welcome her at the same time. Title Boxing, located at 335 Main St. in Huntington village, is fully wheelchair accessible, a breeze for Ali to navigate and offers one free class to those interested in signing up.
“I spent so many years looking for a place to train… Not just to lose weight, but to preserve my health and become aware of my body,” Ali said. “I can really see the difference after the workouts.”
And Ali isn’t the only member with special needs that Title has catered to. Douglas King, also wheelchair-bound, has started taking classes at the club as well and receives the same guidance and motivation from Stone and his staff that Ali has come to know and love.