Hello, my name is Brittany Sommerfield and I am a FARA ambassador. I was diagnosed when I was 13 and I am 24 as of November 2018. I am a Canadian and a Winnipeger.
At first, when I was diagnosed I tried to ignore the reality. If anyone asked if I was sick or why I was so clumsy I would tell them there was nothing. It wasn't until after grade 11, 5 years later, until I accepted the illness, I would tell people what was wrong- I wouldn't keep it a secret and I would help to spread awareness I decided
I organized a fundraiser at my high-school, my friends all helped and we raised a whopping $6,000 Canadian. I also held two socials (which are a Manitoba thing but it is pretty much a fundraiser/party). So far I have attended five different ataxia conference; I have also participated in multiple trials in UCLA and Atlanta Georgia (you can read my patient perspective to learn more, click here.
I currently work as a home-based travel agent and I love it! I do it as a casual position so once I started the job I had more free time than before. I decided to join FARA then as I felt I wanted to do more. I wanted just to help and share awareness but I was also starting to meet so many new amazing people and began to learn so much. It was like opening a hidden door to a new but familiar world.
Now, with working with FARA as well as being an agent, it works out perfect as it also gives me the flexibility to travel for research and events.
Lastly, as if ataxia isn't enough I also have Crohn's Disease. It is hard but having a positive attitude works wonders, everyone is dealt a different hand and it's up to you to play the cards right. And, honestly, I love what ataxia has made me. I am a better person today because of it. The experiences, people I've met, even the hardships. Friedreich's Ataxia is much more than just a cruel disease, it is my life and my life is wonderful.
"Sometimes you don't know when you're taking the first step through a door until you're already inside."