Carla CotrimName: Carla Izadora Cotrim

Age: 24

Where do you live? I currently live in the state of Ceará, in the sunny northeast of Brazil.

Education/Work? I am in the 5th semester of Social Work, and in the future, I may even try to study Psychology. There are many difficulties related to FA, but I still believe that I can have a professional life.

When and how were you diagnosed? I learned about having FA when I was about 13. I have an older brother who had already been diagnosed with FA. So, as soon as my first symptoms appeared, my mother realized that I also had the syndrome.

Describe your transition between walking alone and going for a walker/wheelchair: I started holding on furniture, walls, and on my mother. I didn't accept a walker until I realized that I couldn't keep walking that way anymore, that it was exhausting for me and for those who supported me. It was then that I accepted the wheelchair.

What do you like to do to stay active, and what type of exercises work to keep you strong? I like to do stretching and physical therapy exercises to strengthen my limbs and my core.

Do you have any hobbies or special interests? I enjoy listening to music, watching movies, and taking walks (in my wheelchair).

carla collageWhat is a good trick to make daily life easier? To have a smile on my face and always think that tomorrow will be better than today.

When FA gets you down, what do you think/do to feel better? I listen to music, call friends, and invite them to do something, go out, talk, or just cry.

What is one way living with FA has POSITIVELY affected your life? Having FA shows me that I can have a life like any other person even though I have some limitations.

What is a favorite motivational quote of yours? If you can't change the situation, change the way you look at it.

What is a piece of advice that someone with FA has given you that encourages and inspires you? The best advice I had is made of three words: focus, strength, and faith

What is the best advice YOU could give to a person who has been newly diagnosed with FA? To have FA isn't a death sentence. There is a beautiful life to be lived beyond diagnosis.

What is the first thing you want to do when a cure/treatment to FA is found? I want to take a walk in a place where I can be in contact with nature.

"I have FA, but FA doesn't have me." What does this statement mean to you? How do you live your life in the face of adversity? To me, it means that even though I have FA, this disease doesn't define how I am going to live my life.

Tell us a little more about yourself...It took me a while to go from my diagnosis to the acceptance of my situation, but from the moment I realized that I could have a life like any other person, with difficulties and limitations, living life became sweeter.

Interview was done in Portuguese and translated into English.

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