Hello, my name is Brittany Sommerfield and I am a FARA ambassador. I was diagnosed when I was 13 and I am 27 years old as of February 2021. I am a Canadian and I live in Manitoba.
At first, when I was diagnosed, I tried to ignore the reality. It wasn't until after grade 11, 5 years later, until I accepted the illness. At that time, I decided I would help to spread awareness.
I organized a fundraiser at my high-school, my friends all helped and we raised a whopping $6,000 Canadian. I also held two socials (which are a Manitoba thing but it is pretty much a fundraiser/party). So far I have attended five different ataxia conference; I have also participated in multiple trials in UCLA and Atlanta Georgia (you can read my patient perspective to learn more, click here.
Pre-covid, I worked in the travel industry and it was great, right now though, I am taking a pause from this. I keep myself busy with FARA and trying to stay on top of things in the FA community. I am focusing on my health by working out, plus of course, spending time with my 3 handsome nephews.
Now, with working with FARA as well as being an agent, it works out perfect as it also gives me the flexibility to travel for research and events.
Lastly, as if ataxia isn't enough I also have Crohn's Disease. It is hard but having a positive attitude works wonders, everyone is dealt a different hand and it's up to you to play the cards right. And, honestly, I love what ataxia has made me. I am a better person today because of it. The experiences, people I've met, even the hardships. Friedreich's Ataxia is much more than just a cruel disease, it is my life and my life is wonderful.
"Sometimes you don't know when you're taking the first step through a door until you're already inside."