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FARA Ambassador Program

FARA Ambassadors are a united team of patient volunteers living with FA who are committed to supporting FARA in the search for treatments and a cure.

The Ambassadors are a service team within the FARA organization. Participants in the FARA Ambassador Program are passionate about building and upholding relationships within the FA community. Together we seek to know more about the research and pharmaceutical pipelines being developed through FARA in order to be better prepared to represent the FA community when opportunities arise to educate the medical community and potential donors. When meeting with scientific groups, pharma partners, and the FDA, our purpose is to promote awareness of the patient perspective of living with FA. We believe our dedicated support is key to continued success toward our ultimate goal of treatments and a cure.

FARA Ambassador Program Mission Statement:

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:

The Ambassador Blog

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This blog is a vehicle for the voice of the FARA Ambassador Program and features posts from Program participants and friends from the FA community on a wide range of topics.

The blog features posts about FARA events, articles about living with FA, spotlights on individuals throughout the FA community, weekly interviews to “Meet the Community,” and more. We hope that you will be inspired, uplifted and encouraged through the FARA Ambassador Blog!

Jack's Weapons of Grass Destruction Tour

My family recently held our first golf outing fundraiser to raise money for FARA. It was Saturday September 6th in DeWitt, Michigan where my Dad grew up. We organized the event with the help of some friends and family. The idea came about when a local businessman offered to connect us with his friend at the golf course. Since it was the same course that my Grandfather helped build, we knew we had to do it. When they asked me to come up with the name, I suggested "Weapons of Grass Destruction" because I thought it was funny and sometimes golf is a little too serious!

5th Annual Race for Matt and Grace

The 5th Annual Race for Matt & Grace took place on Saturday, September 20, 2014 in Bryant University in Smithfield, RI. This 5K Race is held in honor of Matthew DiIorio and Grace Hopkins and to benefit those affected with FA and the research alliance group, FARA. This was my third year in a row attending the event, and each year it amazes me how much love and support is given to both the DiIorio and Hopkins families.

Being newly diagnosed with Friedreich’s Ataxia only three years ago, was a tough time for me. I was still attending college at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, RI, which was five hours from home. Not having my family close to me with the new struggles and questions of living with FA, I wanted to get involved. I saw there was the 3rd Annual Race for Matt & Grace and I decided to go with my sister to connect with families and learn more about FARA. Looking back now, I am so grateful to have connected with the DiIorio Family and other families because now I have lifetime relationships with them. Attending the 5K Race of Matt & Grace is a yearly tradition my family and I will share.

Friends of Jerod Reverse Draw

On September 6th, the Friends of Jerod held our 4th Annual Reverse Draw to raise funds for research to find treatment and a cure for Friedreich's Ataxia...and the results were amazing! With over 300 in attendance, the night not only raised funds, but also raised awareness regarding the facts about FA and made people aware that our researchers are in a race to find a cure for this life-threatening disorder. A delicious dinner was catered by the ever-generous Outback Steakhouse, beverages from Pepsi and followed with dessert donated from Frugatti's Italian Restaurant. Over 25 incredible gift baskets and lots of gift cards from supportive donors were given away throughout the event with our wonderful emcee, Mike Hart of ABC 23, KERO Bakersfield.

Emily and Andrea

Name: Emily Therens

Age: 14

Where do you call home? Spokane, Washington

Are you married? Kids? Single parent? Haha, enjoying being a teen!

Occupation/Employment: Freshman at Shadle Park High School.

How long have you been living (or known you are living) with Friedreich's Ataxia? I was just recently diagnosed but I have been living with symptoms (poor balance, falling, fatigue, fainting, problems with my hands) for several years. My Mom asked my doctor about this at every single visit but no one took her seriously.

Pfizer and FARA: Rare Disease Community Outreach

On September 9, 2014, FARA was invited to visit Pfizer as part of their Rare Disease Community Outreach Program. I was lucky enough to be asked to participate on FARA’s behalf and share my personal stories about Friedreich’s Ataxia (FA) and the impact the disease has had on both my life and my family. Pfizer is one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world; they have committed to drug discovery in FA and they and we are hopeful that those discoveries will be part of the treatments that will someday lead to a cure!

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