Most of us recognized September 25th as International Ataxia Day. One day later, nearly 300 people went a step further to support the 6th Annual Race for Matt & Grace. Bryant University in RI was overrun with the New England FA community coming together to support two of our favorite FA’ers. We ran, walked, and rolled 3.1 miles along a cross-country course to fight FA, together. Racers were digitally timed to spark the competition and officially place Friedreich in last place. Runners pushed through the pain to emerge from the woods at the top of the list, while walkers enjoyed a cool fall weather stroll with dogs, children, and family.
When the race was over, the day had just started! Down the road, everyone gathered for an outdoor cookout, filled with raffles and live entertainment. FARA shared the research pipeline from 2004 – a few bars beginning to branch out – compared to the kaleidoscope of research efforts and clinical trials underway today. Fellow ambassadors Jean Walsh and Erin O’Neil shared their personal stories battling FA and growing with the FAmily. Jean shared her birthday with us, using it as an example that FA can make life trickier, but can never stop us from living it! (We shared cake with her… I think we were about even!)
From race registration fees, raffle entries, generous donations, and fundraising proceeds from events all summer, close to $80,000 has been raised for FARA from the team in RI!!! And with several more “one-night only!” events before the end of the year, that number will keep climbing. I will remain grateful to everyone who supports our cause and continues fueling FARA’s burning desire to find the cure. I will remain changed forever by the dedication, energy, and compassion Matt, Grace, their families and close friends have shared with me. I hope the 7th race introduces more people to this amazing community.