Wes GatesName: Robert W. Gates (Wes)

Age: 31

Where do you call home? Choctaw, OK

Education: degree Bachelor of Art in Multi-Disciplinary Studies from the University of Oklahoma

Tell us about your family: I live with my parents and have never been married.

How long have you known you are living with FA? I was diagnosed at age 13 by Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington DC when we lived there.

Are there any others with FA in your family? No

Describe your transition from walking to walker/wheelchair. I was able to walk without assistance until my first year of college. I started using a walker after falling and breaking my shoulder. A few years later I broke my ankle and haven't walked since healing from the ankle surgery.

What do you like to do to stay active and what type of exercises work for you to stay strong? I used to do physical therapy and transferred to/from my wheelchair as long as possible, but that is too risky now. My house has an overhead lift system now because I can't do much for exercise anymore.

Do you have any hobbies or special interests? I collect Blu-ray movies and TV shows and am a fan of the San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder, St. Louis Cardinals, and Oklahoma Sooners.

When FA gets you down, what do you think/do to feel better? Don't complain about things I can't control. Some people have even worse problems.

What is one way living with FA has POSITIVELY affected your life? I developed a sense of humor to deal with FA. For example, I tried to get the movie theater to let me in free for bringing my own seat.

What is a favorite motivational quote of yours? "Never trust a guy in a wheelchair who has dirty shoes." by Ron Burgendy

What is the best advice YOU could give to a person who has been newly diagnosed with FA? Don't worry about tomorrow and miss today.

How do you live your life in the face of adversity? Everyone has something to deal with. I can still enjoy what I have.

Tell us a little more about you..... I was born in Fort Walton Beach, FL when my Dad was in the Air Force. We moved to Edwards AFB, CA, back to Fort Walton Beach (Hurlburt Field), then to Langley AFB, VA, then back to Fort Walton Beach (Eglin AFB) where I graduated from High School. I have a younger sister who doesn't have FA. I have one niece and a nephew to be born in August who will be named Robert Wesley too.

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