Name: Collin Straathof
Where do you call home? the Netherlands
Education degree(s): Bachelor Sports marketing/Commercial economy. I work as an online marketer. This work is good for me, despite the difficulties that FA entails. I work three days at the office and also do some work at home in the field of online marketing.
Who do you live with? I live with my parents but often live with my girlfriend.
What's a typical day for you? On workdays, I get up around half-past seven. I work from half-past ten till half-past 5. After work or dinner, I go to the gym or do some exercises at home. Then it's time to relax: social media, watch TV, things like that. When I'm free, I usually go to the gym, do some household chores, and do some online marketing work, go out with my girlfriend or do something with friends.
How long have you known you are living with FA? Since March 2018. More than a year earlier, I noticed clearly that my balance was decreasing.
Are there any others with FA in your family? No, no one (only my parents and I have had DNA tests done)
Describe your transition from walking to walker/wheelchair: I walk independently, but more difficult.
What do you like to do to stay active and what type of exercises work for you to stay strong? Since I was 16, I started to exercise and exercised more fanatically until I was 24. Since I have symptoms, I go to the gym three times a week for strength training and balance exercises. At home, I do core and balance exercises twice a week. In any case, I move for 30 minutes in a row every day. This can be walking or exercises.
Do you have any hobbies or special interests? Spending time with my girlfriend, family, and friends. I love watching and following soccer, make trips, to do fun things and relax.
What is a good trick to make daily life easier? Enjoy life despite FA. Consider the positive developments and do things that you really enjoy.
When FA gets you down, what do you think/do to feel better? I think of the good developments in the field of treatments for FA, and I'm going to do fun things again. It's also good to do relaxation exercises at these moments.
What is one way living with FA has POSITIVELY affected your life? I live more consciously and enjoy small things more. I worry less about things, I have become much stronger mentally, and I have also become a wiser person with more knowledge.
What is a favorite motivational quote of yours? I don't have a favorite quote. This is a quote that happens to be on a coaster of my cup, but it is a nice one by Steve Jobs: ''If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I'm about to do today?''. This message is my message and is important to me: There are so many things and moments to enjoy, do it!
What is piece of advice that someone with FA has given you that encourages and inspires you? That it is very important that you think positively. If you feel good mentally, you also feel much better physically. I experience that very strongly.
What is the best advice YOU could give to a person who has been newly diagnosed with FA? Do things you enjoy and take good care of your body. Believe that it will get better and remember that we can all achieve a lot. Make sure you are registered: https://curefa.net/registry/
What is the first thing you want to do when a cure/treatment to FA is found? It seems fantastic to me to be happy with all the people who are involved with FA. I want to live carefree, normal and do things like: running and, maybe, playing soccer again.
"I have FA, but FA doesn't have me." What does this statement mean to you? Although FA has changed my life, I do enjoy life. I don't let FA change my whole way of life.
How do you live your life in the face of adversity? I know that things will always happen that I do enjoy. Life is too good to think negatively.
Tell us a little more about you....I am a positive thinker and actually always happy. I live consciously and think about the environment and nature. That's important because we are with many people on earth. For me and all others with FA very important: In August 2020, there will be a rideATAXIA in Eindhoven, in my home country: the Netherlands. With this bike tour/event, we will draw attention to FA and raise money for research into treatments and/or a cure. I also make a small contribution to the organization of this event:) Everyone is welcome! > http://rideataxia.eu/