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Andrea Kiess


Andrea & Ramada!At the age of 14, I thought my life was perfect. But the events of the next year turned that opinion upside down.

My name is Andrea and I live in Wichita, KS. As a freshman in high school, my gym teacher noticed that I was "extra" clumsy and uncoordinated while my class was doing a series of physical tests. She had the school nurse observe me during class and the nurse agreed. She called my mom and my mom took me to a neurologist.  Andrea & Ramada (aka the BEST service dog in the world)! After many tests, this neurologist told my mom that I had a virus and would be fine. A year later, my clumsiness and uncoordination kept getting worse, so my mom dragged me to another doctor.

This neurologist ordered many more tests. After ruling out other conditions, I was told I had Friedreich's Ataxia (FA). A blood test was developed when I was 19 and my diagnosis was confirmed. That same year, my parents noticed that my only brother started having similar symptoms. He also had a blood test that said he had FA as well. Putting my life back together after being diagnosed with FA took several years. Being different and losing the ability to do many activities I enjoyed was hard. But with the help of a loving God, a a supportive family, wonderful friends, and the best service dog in the world, I finally think my life is pretty close to perfect again.

About the Author

The FARA Ambassador Program

The FARA Ambassador Program

The FARA Ambassadors are a united team of patient volunteers living with FA who are committed to supporting FARA in the search for a treatment and cure.
Together we seek to know more about FA, and FARA so we can be prepared to represent the community when the opportunity arises; speaking at events, to volunteers, potential donors, scientific groups, pharma partners, media interviews and other awareness and fundraising opportunities. We believe support is key to continued success toward our ultimate goal of treatment and a cure. Participants in the FARA Ambassador Program are passionate about building and upholding relationships within the FA community.
The FARA Ambassadors are positive, supportive, peer representatives for the FA community, actively raising awareness and funds for FARA. To learn more about the FARA Ambassador Program or to have a FARA Ambassador speak at your event, please contact:


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