Kay KrankelName: Kay Krankel

Age: 83

Where do you call home? Currently, my home is a skilled nursing facility in Scranton, PA.

Education: I made it through one year of college when I got the job I wanted.

Who do you live with? I have been married for 60 yrs. We have five children and sixteen grandchildren.

What's a typical day for you? Currently, a typical day for me includes lots of reading, playing bingo, and occupational therapy. Every other week, facility-sponsored entertainers visit.

How long have you known you are living with FA? My two sisters and I were all diagnosed with MS one year after another before genetic testing came along. I tested positive for FA, with one allele registering 106 and the other 600+.

Are there any others with FA in your family? I am the seventh of eight children and three of us have neurological problems. After I revealed my FA diagnosis to my family, the oldest sister said, "well that makes sense", and the other sister said, "I am sick of doctors, I am sticking with MS."

Kay Krankel 3Describe your transition from walking to walker/wheelchair. Regarding my transition to a wheelchair, it was very gradual. I have had three canes, three walkers and now I am on my fifth chair. I had an electric chair for a while but after driving holes in several walls, we decided my fine motor skills weren't so fine.

What do you like to do to stay active and what type of exercises work for you to stay strong? I stay strong with PT, OT, and speech therapy twice a week.

Do you have any hobbies or special interests? I like sewing, although hobbies are slowly going by the wayside. I started sewing when I was eight! And I just gave my machine to the activities dept. because I could not thread it anymore. I also enjoy playing Bridge and reading.

What is a good trick to make daily life easier? I don't have any tricks to make life easier; I just accept that this is the way my life is and do what I can.

When FA gets you down, what do you think/do to feel better? Yes, FA gets me down and I have a good cry and focus on the things I can still do.

What is a piece of advice that someone with FA has given you that encourages and inspires you? I don't know of anyone else with FA. I guess that is good but it would be nice to compare notes.

Kay collageWhat is the best advice YOU could give to a person who has been newly diagnosed with FA? I don't know what I would say to a newly diagnosed person because she probably would know more than I do! I think it would depend on her age!

What is the first thing you want to do when a cure/treatment to FA is found? If a cure is found WOW! I would shout from the rooftops! I would like to have my sister get my dose as I am sure it would be rare.

Tell us a little more about you...I think you know about me but... I was born and raised in western Washington and lived there until I was married. My husband is from a farm in Michigan. We have lived and worked in Washington, Iowa, and 55-years in Pennsylvania. We have 4 girls and 1 boy. They are aged from 58 to 43 and have given us 16 grandchildren.

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