JenniferName: Jennifer Gasner

Age: 47

Where do you call home? ​San Diego, California

Education degree(s): BA in English, MS in Recreation

Who do you live with? I live with my boyfriend.

How long have you known you are living with FA? ​I was diagnosed at 17 in 1990 after a year by two doctors. It was before the blood test existed, but when the test was available, ten years later, it was confirmed.

Are there any others with FA in your family? No

Describe your transition from walking to walker/wheelchair. I started using a walker at 21. I had a bad fall and then got a wheelchair at 26. The doctor prescribed a power wheelchair right away.

What do you like to do to stay active and what type of exercises work for you to stay strong? Yoga, I go to SDSU's Adaptive Fitness Clinic, where we stretch, work on hand strength, standing frame, and core exercises. I go to the local YMCA for the handcycle.

Do you have any hobbies or special interests? Writing, Reading, Movies

When FA gets you down, what do you think/do to feel better? Listen to uplifting music, meditating, pet my dog, write.

What is one way living with FA has POSITIVELY affected your life? It's made me more open and aware of Social Justice and politics. I've also met extraordinary people. I have amazing friends to talk to and have fun with. The majority of my friends are wheelchair users. While they do not have FA, we are able to relate to each other a lot.

What is a favorite motivational quote of yours? Walking is overrated

What is the best advice YOU could give to a person who has been newly diagnosed with FA? Live your life the best you can. Don't listen or believe all the negative info out there. Think of what you have, not what you may or may not have. FA is different for everyone. What happens to someone else won't necessarily happen to you. Be kind to yourself. Laugh.

"I have FA, but FA doesn't have me." What does this statement mean to you? I'm living my life understanding I have FA, but not letting it stop me.

How do you live your life in the face of adversity? I try to re-focus on the positive. But I also think getting your frustration out is important. Writing works for me, but maybe talking, painting or basket weaving would help others...

Tell us a little more about you....Originally, I am from Wisconsin. I moved to San Diego in 2001. I am working on my memoir.

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