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“So I go on, challenging myself in new ways that are more fulfilling than I think I would have if I didn’t have FA.”

Who am I? I am a 46-year-old woman, wife who is still infatuated with her husband, mother of two fun children, full-time employee at a very accommodating company, world traveler, book club member, dinner club member, church-goer, live in Central New York in a comfortable 100-year old house in the country with my family, dog, cat, rabbit, and chickens … and, oh yeah, I have Friedreich’s ataxia.

Life changed when I was diagnosed with FA at the age of 40 … just six years ago. That’s when I really started to appreciate the time we have. I have always been a bit “Carpe diem,” but there’s nothing like being diagnosed with a progressively debilitating disease to get you moving!

I took a new position at work that required/allowed me to travel internationally. On several occasions my family joined me in Europe during the summer break. The motive for traveling internationally was at first pragmatic … I should do it as soon as I can, before my symptoms make it too difficult. But it has proven to be such a positive experience for us all!

In the beginning of 2008, my husband Andy and I joined Kyle Bryant and others on Ride Ataxia II. It was certainly a life highlight that I would not have even thought of doing prior to FA! Not only did we all raise a lot of money for FA research, but it was so motivating to physically accomplish so much! We had never done anything like this before, and we were thrilled to be a part of it!

So I go on, challenging myself in new ways that are more fulfilling than I think I would have if I didn’t have FA. My mantra, quoted from Abraham Lincoln, is “And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” I encourage everyone with and without FA to live in this way!




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