Born and raised in Lynn, Massachusetts, Patrick Cogan is a very accomplished 30 year old man, who is also very independent and very driven. He studied Marketing at Salem State College. He works as a clerk and would seem to be your average guy, except he is not. Everyone has a story, and he let me play "reporter" for this month's spotlight. He is a busy man - when he is not working, he is training for and competing in triathlons and traveling to schools throughout MA - to speak to children and young adults. He is about pushing yourself further and overcoming adversity, all while giving back.
Patrick is the co-founder of Project Wheels. After his diagnosis with FA, Patrick and his family were left with their eyes opened to many new hurdles. Like most of us, he hadn't given much thought to what life in a wheelchair meant. Not only the overwhelming emotional loss of losing the ability to walk would be his fate, but how would he get his wheelchair in and out of the car? How would he get it through his house? He and his mother saw first hand how difficult things would become and realized there are many other FA families in the same situation. They then made it their mission to help.
Project Wheels aims to provide direct support to FA patients by helping them acquire equipment such as wheelchairs, retrofitted vehicles and home wheelchair ramps. Alongside supporters, Project Wheels works so that help is given these individuals to maintain their independence and live a life free of obstacles. Most recently, Project Wheels funded the renovation of a wheelchair accessible bathroom for a woman with FA, also living in Massachusetts. Furthermore, the woman did not know of FARA or any support offered until meeting Patrick.
A few years ago, he completed a 100 mile adventure on his trike with fellow FAer's Kyle Bryant and Richie Currier. This not only helped raise funds and awareness for FARA, but was a great feeling of accomplishment. Admittedly, he never pushed himself before his diagnosis at age 26. It gave him motivation to fight, and he wanted to do more. He started training for triathlons and so far has completed three! He is currently training for a fourth, the 1/2 IRON MAN. He lives in the now and is focusing on what is in front of him, but who knows what will be next?
Together we WILL cure FA!