Gavin MTCName: Gavin Oldaker

Age: 29

Where do you call home? Western Washington

What is your education? What are your plans for the future? I finished a general Associate's a few years ago. I have a couple certificates in AutoCAD... When I'm cured, I'd love to major in Architecture, while minoring in Acting. Until then, I write here and there. Fiction. Nothing solid yet, but I'd love to put out something in my time waiting.

Who do you live with? I'm single, but I would love to find myself in a relationship. Right now, I live alone. My parents help me out with rent. It's pretty cool. Although it's a lot of work; nearly too much, and it's lonely sometimes.

What's a typical day for you? My typical daily routine involves reading, getting to the gym, watching TV/playing Xbox and cleaning. It seems I'm constantly cleaning. Those are the nuts and bolts of my routine anyway.

How long have you known you are living with FA? I was diagnosed as a 15-year-old wrapping up my freshman year in high school. I was then diagnosed with FA by a blood test. It was nearly a relief, as I had been so troubled by my lack of ability to keep up with my peers. It may have gone down with a little more tears had I known the full picture. However, my neurologist didn't have much knowledge of FA or didn't tell me everything. I did cry after I was diagnosed with Cardiomyopathy two months later, though.

Are there any others with FA in your family? No one else in my family has FA. My brother and sister have a different father, so there was next to zilch possibility of another diagnosis coming along.

Gavin MTC 2Describe your transition from walking to a wheelchair: The transition to a wheelchair from walking was not easy for me. I pushed myself really hard to stay on foot. The wheelchair simply felt like a coffin. However, I was 21 when I traded my standing frame for a wheelchair. I had just suffered a scary head trauma from a fall. I finally ceded to because my family was really worried for me and practically begged for the transition. I had a rough spell of low self-esteem afterward. Now I wish I had made the transfer to a wheelchair sooner. I could have saved myself from a. lot of injuries. The wheelchair is a tool to aid mobility.  

What do you like to do to stay active and what type of exercises work for you to stay strong? Staying active is absolutely necessary. It's the only treatment available. I have a gym membership which I value beyond any other expenses of mine. I mostly weight train now. I'd really like to get back into a swimming pool.

When FA gets you down, what do you think/do to feel better? When FA weighs too heavy on me, I find distractions. Reading is my usual trick. An epic Fantasy like my favorite, The Name of The Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. I also call my brother up to go see a movie, or my friends Moriah and Shawn for Tacos at our usual hole in the wall.

What is one way of living with FA has POSITIVELY affected your life? Positivity is a tough thing when you have FA, but it's undoubtedly given me a wider scope to see where everyone is coming from. It's allowed me to see in color, rather than black and white. I'm less judgmental and a little more open to character and personality. FA has given me time to wander a bit and soak rather than move point to point through life.

What is a favorite motivational quote of yours? I'm not big on quotes and lyrics. I know there are some really motivating lines out there. Nike's slogan usually does the trick for me: "Just do it"

What is the best advice YOU could give to a person who has been newly diagnosed with FA? Stay active and focus on the good would be my advice to someone new with FA. Oh, and join the FAmily.

What is one thing you want to do when a cure/treatment to FA is found? Test the notion - you never forget how to ride a bicycle.

FARA Ambassador Brittany Sommerfield