brittany sommerfieldHello, my name is Brittany Sommerfield and I am a FARA ambassador. I was diagnosed with Friedreich’s Ataxia when I was 13 and I am 29 years old as of February 2023. I am a Canadian (“eh”) and I live in Manitoba, which is right in the middle and is known as the polar bear capital of the world.

Pre-covid, I worked in the travel industry and it was great. I took a pause in 2020 as traveling, of course, was not happening much. In 2022 I went back but things have really changed. Travelling is definitely not as simple as before. I’ve also found distractions that have taken my focus in working. Long story short I am still a travel agent but very casually, as I am also an active FARA ambassador, a clinical trial participate, an auntie, an Assiniboine Park Conservancy (APC) volunteer, an unprofessional bookkeeper... I try to stay on top of things in the FA (and Ataxia Canada) communities. I am working on focusing on my health by working out, maintining physio, and keeping a healthy diet. I enjoy traveling and definitely spending time with friends and family. All in all I enjoy keeping myself busy (it is helpful to my mental health) and having only one path doesn’t do it for me.

Brittany Sommerfield CollageMy illness has changed me, mostly for the better. I can see value in such a better light. It has been tough, I won’t lie, but I am who I am today because of it and I am pretty proud of who I am. Having Crohn's disease (dx at 12 in 2006) on top of friedreich's ataxia has definitely pushed the challenge, but at the same time it has made me a warrior. I have hardships- I don’t know anyone who doesn’t, but I still think I’m lucky. I live in a great country, I have a big loving family, some of the greatest friends, my health other than the obvious is taken care of, and, for the most part, I am happy.

"When life gets you down, you know what you gotta do? Just keep swimming." — Dory, Finding Nemo