Hey! My name is Allison Bouchard and I am 23 years old living in Bowdoin, ME. I was diagnosed with FA in 2006 when I was 11, after my sister Noelle was diagnosed about a year earlier. We both live together with our family, her boyfriend Matt, and our two dogs. I've been using a wheelchair since I was in high school. I was always a clumsy kid growing up, so my family wasn't too alarmed when I started showing symptoms until Noelle (then 16) did. I can remember feeling fatigued during gym class as far back as in 1st or 2nd grade.
Life with FA has always been challenging, as I prefer to say I'm "living with it" instead of "fighting it" because I think it tends to diminish your accomplishments. I've been a part of the Ambassador Program since 2015 and I've gone to a handful of New England events since then – I have to credit FARA and the Ataxia community for helping me network and realize it's not just me against the world. You guys helped me channel my post-diagnosis energy once I finally slowed down enough to ask myself "ok, now what?" Over the years I've gone to college, traveled, worked for a large company, seen my favorite bands perform live, even ziplined a few times, and I'm always looking for what to chase after next.