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FARAFARA Cure FA

What it’s like to be a teenager whose body is ground zero for a life-saving medical discovery

When I first meet Josh Wooten at a deli in Gainesville, Florida, he flashes a big smile at me, squinching up his eyes. He looks like any other hopeful young man making the transition to college, from his faded graphic t-shirt to his scuffed tennis shoes. But he is seated next to a large, black walker.

“Friedreich’s Ataxia is like being drunk all the time except without the fun,” says Josh, who is 19 years old. “You are tired all the time and constantly feel off balance.”
FA affects roughly one in every 50,000 people in the US. But there are hundreds of millions more around the world with rare degenerative illnesses that affect the nervous system like Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, Lou Gehrig’s disease, and Pompe disease.

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