Name: Hi, I’m Tiffany Rose Gambill.
Age: I am 25, I’ll be 26 on December 21st.
Where do you call home? I live in Bridgewater, Massachusetts, currently with my parents, but we are building a wheelchair friendly apartment onto the house, so that will be my little humble abode.
Education (degree(s): I graduated The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth with a bachelor’s degree in Women Studies. While in college I also went to a community college near home where I got certified in Sign Language I-V and certification in Veterinary Assistance. Both certificates, of which I never used. I also did the Bridgewater Citizens Police Academy, which was very interesting, I learned a lot, bonus I got to see 3 people tazed! After college I did many trainings in Domestic Violence, which led to a semester in Washington DC at The Washington Center and an internship at Becky’s Fund which helped with victims of DV. When I came home I interned at the Plymouth County District Attorney’s office. Then in September of 2014 I got a job in my town at a company that trades precious metals around the world. I have been there a little over a year. I work part time, which is really helpful for my energy levels. At work I do a lot of filing, data entry and now I help also in the HR department. So nothing to do with my education background, but they continue to pay me so I’m not complaining! I do still love to continue my education, knowledge is a powerful recourse for everything so why wouldn’t you want to learn as much as possible?
What is your relationship status? Am I the only one that thinks ‘what is your relationship status’ question is everywhere? Well I am single. But for where I am in life, a boyfriend would be too much work. I have a list of self-goals for me before I reach complete happiness and I need/want to give my 100% attention to this girl! Someday, I do hope I meet a great, loving guy who likes to cuddle.
What's a typical day for you? During the week, a typical day is waking up around 8:45 and getting to work for 10, my work provides lunch for employees, so that is great, around 2 I’m out, depending on the day I have the gym, if not I go home and watch Dr. Phil. Some days I take my dog for a walk, and ALWAYS on the days I am in a hurry are the days my dog decides she wants to go on a super long walk.
How long have you known you are living with FA? I was diagnosed at 16, so I have been living with FA for almost 10 years. And me personally, I wouldn’t change a thing, FA has opened so many doors for me and I know if I didn’t have FA my life would be completely different, and I really like who Tiffany is.
Are there any others with FA in your family? I’m the only on in my family with FA, but if my parents never had me, one of my siblings may have gotten the FA gene, so I am glad I got it because I have turned it into a positive situation and I don’t know if they would have been this optimistic.
Describe your transition from walking to walker/wheelchair. Freshman year of college I was still walking and that year I got a lot of looks from students and them asking ‘are you ok?’ send giving you that eye, so you knew they thought you were drunk. I did join a sorority so my sisters, other sororities and fraternities knew what was wrong so they all treated me like a normal person. Sophomore year I got a walker, that was hard but my sisters helped me, I can’t tell you how many times they pushed me while is sat on my walker and tipped me over, there was usually alcohol involved. But they really taught me how to laugh at my disease. The following year I got my wheelchair, it made things so much easier, except in the winter, I would get stuck in snow banks, and 2 frat guys would run across campus to help me. They helped me learn it is ok to accept help from others.my junior and senior year were great, I was more social because I didn’t have to worry about walking too far, and everyone still treated me like nothing was wrong. Even to this day my sisters and some brothers are very much a part of my life! Joining that group of girls was the best decision I ever made!
What do you like to do to stay active and what type of exercises work for you to stay strong? Over the summer I was a winner for the AAI grant, I got a wheelchair attachment hand cycle, the helps me be a beast! I have a trainer and we do a lot of weights, stretching, and cardio. And I do a little meditation.
Do you have any hobbies or special interests? Lately I am a huge book worm, I am not a big drinker but I am a great eater, I do try to eat healthy, but some days I just can’t say no to brownies and ice cream! Now that I work I do like to just relax and veg out in front of the TV.
What is a good trick to make daily life easier? How to make life easier? Happiness. That is my trick! I have FA, I can’t change that but I can change how I deal with it. I am a spiritual person, and I believe inner happiness is the best medicine. Negative thoughts can only hurt.
When FA gets you down, what do you think/do to feel better? When FA gets me down I laugh. Laughter leads to happiness. Give yourself 15 minutes to be sad, cry and think of the bad stuff, after your time is up and the pity party is over, realize that things could always be much worse!
What is one way living with FA has POSITIVELY affected your life? In every way, my life is amazing, yes I have FA and that may not be an ideal way of living, but life is such a gift and life is short in general, I don’t got no time to think about the bad stuff in life.
What is a favorite motivational quote of yours? “Life is not always a matter of holding good cards, but sometimes, playing a poor hand well.” –Jack London
What is the best advice YOU could give to a person who has been newly diagnosed with FA? Depending on their age, give them the book The Art of Happiness by the Dalai Lama. (I am attaching a picture also)
What is the first thing you want to do when a cure/treatment to FA is found? I really have never thought about it.
"I have FA but FA doesn't have me." What does this statement mean to you? Truth!
We are stronger TOGETHER! Find a new Meet the Community interview every Monday.