sean-sommerville Name:Sean Sommerville

Age: 21

Where do you call home? Bay Area in Northern California

Education/Career: Bachelors of Science in Aeronautics

What is your relationship status? Do you have children? I’ve been dating my girlfriend Marlie for two years.


How long have you known you are living with FA? I’ve been experiencing symptoms for 5 years but I didn’t start investigating the balance problems until 3 years ago. It took a year of being transferred between doctors and medical tests to finally get an FA diagnosis.

sean-sommerville Are there any others with FA in your family? My younger brother Logan has FA as well.

Describe an adaptation and/or transition you have had to take dur to living with FA: Due to FA, I became very reliant on hiking poles when I go on hikes or any walking on uneven or challenging terrain. It really helps keep my falls to a minimum and allows me to continue to stay active.

What do you like to do to stay active and what type of exercises work for you to stay strong? I love to ride my trike but I also enjoy hiking and walking, which all helps with my balance. I do PT exercises and weights on occasion as well, but I am more of an outdoors person.

Do you have any hobbies or special interests? I really enjoy riding my trike, as well as playing board games with my friends when time allows.

When FA gets you down, what do you think/do to feel better? When FA gets on my nerves, I like to take some time to myself and listen to music. I find it helps clear my mind.

sean-sommerville What is one way living with FA has POSITIVELY affected your life? FA has given me the mental strength and motivation to push my physical limits to a level I would have never achieved without FA. Thanks to FA, I have biked 100 miles, biked up Mt. Diablo, and walked a marathon.

What is the best advice YOU could give a person who has been newly diagnosed with FA? The best advice I could give someone who has been newly diagnosed would be to reach out to this awesome community and use FA to motivate you to become the best version of yourself. Your mindset is half the battle.

What is the first thing you want to do when a cure/treatment to FA is found? The first thing I want to do when a cure is found is return to flying. It has been without a doubt the hardest thing for me to lose. I miss it so much.

"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, that statement means not letting FA get the best of you. Living with FA is not easy by any means, but we must never let FA take control of our lives and allow us to stop fighting for what we believe in and what we want to achieve. I have learned to use FA as motivation; this massive hurdle that has been placed in front of me inspires me to tackle physical challenges, share my story with the world, and fight even harder for my future and my health.

Tell us a little more about yourself… In addition to being a part of the FARA team as an ambassador, I also recently graduated from the University of North Dakota with my commercial pilots license and certified flight instructors license. I have loved flying ever since my first discovery flight lesson when I was 15 years old. The freedom and sensation of flying is truly indescribable and I hope to be able to return to it one day.

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