TAMPA - Lealan LaRoche is in the middle of an important six month check-up, she doesn't have the same reflexes you probably have.
That's because she has Friedreich's Ataxia, a devastating neuromuscular disease. "Friedreich's Ataxia is a multi-system disease primarily affecting the neuromuscular system.
The symptoms can vary from poor coordination, fine motor skill impairment such as speech and handwriting, but it begins to affect other systems like the heart, the pancreas, and the spinal cord," Dr. Theresa Zesiewicz said.
Lealan says that right now there is no treatment or cure for her disease. "The most serious thing would be heart failure because of this disease."
But Lealan is determined to turn her diagnosis into something positive by dedicating herself to fundraising for research - and even participating herself. She's enrolled in an on-going clinical trial at USF.