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FARA Ambassador Program

The FARA Ambassadors is a united team of patient volunteers living with FA who are committed to supporting FARA in the search for a treatment and cure.

Together we seek to know more about FA, and FARA so we can be prepared to represent the community when the opportunity arises; speaking at events, to volunteers, potential donors, scientific groups, pharma partners, media interviews and other awareness and fundraising opportunities. We believe support is key to continued success toward our ultimate goal of treatment and a cure. Participants in the FARA Ambassador Program are passionate about building and upholding relationships within the FA community.

FARA Ambassador Program Mission Statement:

The FARA Ambassadors are positive, supportive, peer representatives for the FA community, actively raising awareness and funds for FARA. To learn more about the FARA Ambassador Program or to have a FARA Ambassador speak at your event, please contact:

The Ambassador Blog

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This blog is a vehicle for the voice of the FARA Ambassador Program and features posts from Program participants and friends from the FA community on a wide range of topics.

The blog features posts about FARA events, articles about living with FA, spotlights on individuals throughout the FA community, weekly interviews to “Meet the Community,” and more. We hope that you will be inspired, uplifted and encouraged through the FARA Ambassador Blog!


A Time to Connect, Share, Learn and HOPE

The Bidichandani research lab, located at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center (OU HSC) in Oklahoma City (OKC) hosted the first outing of the “OK FAers” group. This group is comprised of Oklahomans that have had a diagnosis of FA, most of whom have connected via FARA. The attending group members and their family members toured the laboratory where promising research is being accomplished to stop the progression of Friedrich’s Ataxia (FA).

OKC Lab Tour

Prior to the tour the FA families met for lunch and a chance to socialize. “The opportunity to connect is the purpose of this outing.”, explained FARA ambassador, Christin Haun. “Meeting each other, sharing experiences of FA, and learning about current research efforts fosters a sense of community and hope.” On arrival at the lab, guests were greeted by Dr. Sanjay Bidichandani who not only directs the activities of the lab, but is an active advisor and FARA supporter. Joining Dr. Bidichandani from the lab was two of his researchers, Dr. Yogesh Chutake (post-doctoral fellow) and Ms. Layne Rodden (PhD student).  

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2016 Century 21 Charity Golf Tournament

2016Century21GolfOn September 22nd, 2016, Josh Lamascus and his family held the 7th annual Century 21 Charity Golf Tournament benefitting FARA, in Fontana, California. Josh explains, “when I was diagnosed, we were hit with a wave of emotion and we didn’t know what to do. My dad called our family friend, Julio Cardenas. Julio runs a Century 21 office in Rancho Cucamonga, California, and they had held an annual golf fundraiser. My dad asked Julio if he would be willing to change the beneficiary of the golf tournament to FARA. Julio happily obliged and that’s how we ended up here.”  Add a comment

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5th Annual Slim's Journey

2016SlimsJourneySlim's Journey ~ A Journey of Hope

September 24, 2016 marked the 5th annual Slim's Journey: FARA 5K Run/2.5K Walk. This year was a significant year for us because we have been able to host this event with continued interest and support from our community, we have reached a $100,000 fund raising milestone, and 2016 was our highest fundraising year to date with over $26,000 raised. 

Although through this event we raise money for FARA and awareness of Friedreich's Ataxia, our event is about hope. Our hope comes from the knowledge that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior and through His sacrifice, we can all have eternal life. We all endure suffering of some kind but knowing we all have the option to press into our Heavenly Father is what we want to share with our participants. Each year, we include a scripture of hope on our event shirt. This year, our scripture was Romans 5:3-4 ~ "Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope." Sharing this message is of utmost importance to our family and serves as a reminder that this world is just temporary. Something much better waits for us.


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FA Adventure Day 2016

2016AdvDay1For the past five years I have hosted the annual Spark Hope FA Adventure Days. My thinking has always been, and remains, to have an event which is just about getting us, people with Friedreich’s Ataxia, and our loved ones closer together through a day of intentional and fun activities. But, of course, our FAmily is much bigger than that! Any member of the FAmily is welcome. So, in this blog I have included the voices of people who are not, strictly speaking, FAmily (but, of course, are FAmily). See what a day with us means to them. -Jean Walsh (FARA Ambassador)

The FA Adventure Days have been sponsored all five years by Project Adventure and The Unlimited Possibilities Foundation. For the past two years we have also been sponsored by Voyager Therapeutics

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Whitewater Rafting with SPLORE

SPLORE2016 1

I went on a Whitewater rafting trip, in Colorado, at the end of the summer with a company called SPLORE. We rafted down the Colorado River, camping out along the way, and going through pretty heavy rapids in Utah. This was my third time going on these trips. I can't explain, exactly, how special they are to me. I think everyone should give this a try, and step out of their comfort zone. SPLORE2016 2

Three years ago, on Facebook, my aunt sent me a link by SPLORE with an advertisement for an FA trip. I would stay two nights in a hotel in Grand Junction, Colorado and raft all the way into Utah. I would be camping four nights along the way, and heading into Whitewater on the final day. This really looked like an amazing adventure. I was hooked because it's not every day that you see something specifically for people with FA. I had never camped before and did not consider myself an outdoor person. Sometimes in life, you just have to let go and be adventurous. I pretty much knew everyone would help take care me if I got attacked by a bear or something.

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