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Team FARA Blog

Team FARA members are running, walking, biking and swimming for FA research around the world.

While they are geographically dispersed, Team FARA is united with the same goal: to draw attention to FA through acts of physical endurance and to support the advancement of FA research towards treatments and a cure for FA.


First it should be noted that this event has more rules than an Army boot camp. A couple of the rules that came into play for this story are: #650 Night Riding and Safety This was modified slightly before the race started when they changed the time that these rules would take effect each day. They moved the time from 8 pm local time to 7 pm local time. The rule in summary, says that the rider after 7 pm local time has to use full lights on his bike and must be in the headlights of the follow vehicle at all times. The biker and the follow vehicle are considered "one". Of course at 7 pm local time you still have to be wearing your sun glasses in most cases, so the rule seems a bit much at this time of day. The other rules #625 Sportsmanship and #640 Passing will become self explanatory as the story unfolds. A violation of any of the rules outlined in the RAAM rule book could result in a time penalty.

FA Moms!

On August 15, 2010, Louise and Sandy (parents with children who have FA) will participate in the Seattle Triathlon as part of Team FARA. 

What does Team FARA mean to us: 

Team FARA encourages us to push, step outside the comfort zone, reach and accomplish something for ourselves, and more importantly for the greater Friedreich’s Ataxia community.

Sandy's Story: 

My daughter was diagnosed at the age of 4 1/2 with FA.  FA is a life-shortening, debilitating, and rare neurogenetic disease.  Chelsea opens her eyes every morning confronted with new challenges and frustrations.

RAAM Race Recap

Team FARA was featured in a recent RAAM 2010 Race Recap:

"Team FARA raced to raise money and awareness for the genetic, neuromuscular disease, Friedreich's Ataxia. Two of the racers on the team, Kyle Bryant and Sean Baumstark suffer from the disease, which attacks the muscles and causes life-shortening heart disease. Kyle is further progressed and raced riding a specially designed tricycle. Although Kyle spends much of his time these days in a wheel chair, he is one of the spokespeople for FARA and his continued cycling and fundraising efforts have garnered roughly $1,000,000 for Ataxia research. Team FARA finished 1st in the pision with a time of 8d7h59m (15.03 mph)."

Late night navigation

I had just come off an 8 hour shift and was sprinting for my favorite berth above the RV cab,when I noticed Mike Bryant in the darkened cab tapping his pen and looking at the next pull. I asked him who his navigator was and to my dismay he said he was driving and navigating himself. I hated the navigating part of this job, and when I saw that the entire page was highlighted in yellow I offered to drive, but Mike said he was driving.

Panicked relief

Taking care of No. 1 and No. 2 for the Crew required an unnatural combination of control and luck. Team FARA’s mentor, Lee “Fuzzy” Mitchell, did the math for us early on in the planning process and declared that the capacity of the RV could only accommodate the needs of the four Riders. The Crew would have to make do with whatever external facilities that they might encounter. For me and others, this more often meant everything from dashing behind the odd bush in the desert to offroad rock outcroppings, strategically placed guard rails but sometimes a gas station or convenience store would be encountered at just the right time. Locals who came out to see the passing spectacle of our Riders exchanges at the edge of their rural driveways were a rarer but most welcome event for the Crew.

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