Meet People with FA
My name is Laura Beth and I have Friedreich’s Ataxia (FA). I graduated from Berry College with an inter-disciplinary degree in education, psychology, family studies and art in 2009.
I lived in Rome Georgia while in college and I now live in Marietta Georgia. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, working out, volunteering, and especially spending time with kids.
When I was young, my mom introduced me to gymnastics, and as I got older, I continued with it and also began to learn tap, jazz,
and modern dancing.
I loved dancing, and a dancer was what I wanted to be.
In sixth grade, I was diagnosed with Friedreich’s Ataxia, a progressive neuromuscular disease I had never heard of or had symptoms of; only one in 50,000 people have it. By seventh grade, I started to feel my muscles become weaker and my balance became too difficult to remain a gymnast or dancer any longer. By eleventh grade, I began using a wheelchair because of heart complications. Today I can no longer walk, and recently have had a substantial loss of vision. Yet I try to remain strong and exercise all the time.
Learning to cope with my disease is not always easy, but I have a lot of love and support from my friends and family. I do my best to stay involved and continue to raise money and hope for a cure. I became personally involved in volunteering and fundraising for FARA and the MDA in 2002 and I continue this work today. I was the MDA Goodwill Ambassador for Western Massachusetts for two years before moving to Georgia. I have participated in dozens of fundraising events for FARA, the MDA, and NAF including MDA fill-the-boot drives, lock ups, golf tournaments, telethon and the annual Walk of Hope; the NAF 50/50 fundraiser with the Atlanta Braves and Walk ‘n Roll; and FARA events with Ride Ataxia, the Outback Steakhouse, Reach for a Cure and other fundraisers benefiting FA research. I even created some charity events myself, including a “Cure FA” bracelet sale and a hair/fashion show with a local salon. Every year I try to be more successful in fundraising efforts, and with the support of my family and friends have raised over $140,000 in donations targeted at research to find a cure for FA.
I want to give those who are affected the hope to keep fighting and looking for a cure because I know that someday Friedreich’s Ataxia won’t be an issue in anyone’s life. And I can’t wait for that day.