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News & Press Releases

Here you will find the most recent organizational news from FARA, including information on events, and awareness and advocacy initiatives. To locate an article from a certain date, please use the archives on the right side of your screen.

U.S. Senate passes the Bipartisan “NATIONAL ATAXIA AWARENESS DAY OF 2020” resolution



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The inaugural International Congress for Ataxia Research (ICAR)

ICAR to take place March 15th – 18th, 2022

For Immediate Release

Downingtown, PA – (November 18, 2020) - The National Ataxia Foundation (NAF), the Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance (FARA), and Ataxia UK are pleased to announce the date for the inaugural International Congress for Ataxia Research (ICAR) to be held at the Caribe Royale resort in Orlando, Florida, USA on March 15th – 18th, 2022.

The Congress will combine the best of our organizations’ popular research meetings, including NAF’s Ataxia Investigators Meeting (AIM) and the International Ataxia Research Conference (IARC), co-led by FARA, Ataxia UK, GoFAR, and other partner organizations. ICAR will cover aspects of cerebellar function, neurodegeneration, and treatment of ataxias, and will provide ample opportunities to network, as well as interact with ataxia patients and families. Leading the scientific steering committee are Co-Chairs Stefan-M. Pulst, M.D., Dr. med., Professor and Chair of the Department of Neurology at the University of Utah, USA, and Massimo Pandolfo, M.D., F.A.A.N., F.E.A.N., Professor of Neurology at Université Libre de Bruxelles, Hôpital Erasme, Belgium.

"I am extremely excited to co-chair this new ataxia meeting that will bring together clinicians and scientists from around the world and at all stages of their careers", says Professor Pulst. "The congress will cover diverse topics ranging from cerebellar function and imaging to novel therapies in sporadic and genetic ataxias".

As research on Ataxia continues to advance and pharmaceutical interest grows, international collaboration among patient advocacy groups, scientific and clinical researchers, and pharmaceutical companies is more critical than ever.

Professor Pandolfo states, “It is a great privilege to co-chair ICAR 2022, I expect exciting new developments in diagnosis, pathophysiology and particularly treatment. The meeting will be designed in order to maximize interaction, develop existing collaborations and prompt new ones.”

NAF, FARA and Ataxia UK are thrilled to be working together to host what will undoubtedly be hailed as the conference to attend in 2022! ICAR information will be available at

About NAF: NAF is a nonprofit organization established in 1957 to help persons with Ataxia and their families. The Foundation’s primary purpose is to support Ataxia research, provide vital programs and services for Ataxia families, and help in the search for a cure. NAF is the only organization in the United States dedicated to the disease that serves all types of Ataxia. NAF works closely with the world’s leading Ataxia researchers, promoting exchanges of ideas and innovation in Ataxia discovery.

About FARA: FARA in a non-profit, tax-exempt organization dedicated to the pursuit of scientific research leading to treatments and a cure for Friedreich’s ataxia. FARA's Mission is to marshal and focus the resources and relationships needed to cure FA by raising funds for research, promoting public awareness, and aligning scientists, patients, clinicians, government agencies, pharmaceutical companies and other organizations dedicated to curing FA and related diseases.

About Ataxia UK: Ataxia UK is the leading national charity in the UK supporting people affected by a range of ataxias. The charity actively promotes, facilitates and funds research into finding treatments and cures, and works collaboratively with numerous partners to drive research forwards. Ataxia UK also offers advice, information and support services to people affected by the ataxias.

NAF Executive Director:
Andrew Rosen
FARA Chief Executive Officer
Jennifer Farmer
Ataxia UK - Chief Executive:
Sue Millman
Media Contact:
Stephanie Lucas
Communications Manager, NAF


Monthly Update - November 2020

Dear friends,

It is with great excitement that I write to you about the upcoming FARA Energy Ball. While this event like many others is going to be different this year, it also opens up the opportunity for more people to participate in the Energy Ball than ever before.

On Saturday, November 7th, FARA will be hosting the Virtual 2020 FARA Energy Ball. The pre-show will begin at 6:30pm EST followed by the main event Broadcast from 7:00pm - 8:00pm EST.


Read the Full Monthly Update

Monthly Update - October 2020

Dear friends,

In October, I usually enlist my local friends and family to assist the staff at rideATAXIA Philly near FARA'S home office. This year, rideATAXIA is moving from our neighborhood to yours with the first ever virtual rideATAXIA Global Challenge, and we want EVERYONE to join us. Our goal is to log enough miles to circumnavigate the globe in 30 days, while raising funds and awareness for FA research. As our participants log miles, we will travel virtually around the globe, via Google Earth, to "visit" different FA research and clinical locations and meet the people behind the research.

I am excited for the opportunity to bring together FA academic researchers, advocacy organizations, clinicians, industry partners, and the patient community. When we all work together as one team, we advance FA research with the sense of urgency needed to find treatments and a cure for FA.

I set an activity goal of to contribute 60 running miles to help get our team around the Globe this month. We launched the challenge on September 25th, but there is still time to join by clicking HERE.

As always, thank you for your support.


Jen Farmer,
Chief Executive Officer

Read the Full Monthly Update

New ICD-10-CM Diagnosis Code G11.11 for Friedreich’s Ataxia Effective October 1, 2020

A new diagnosis code has been approved for Friedreich’s ataxia by the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), effective October 1, 2020. The new code, ICD-10-CM G11.11, is to be used by clinicians to document the Friedreich’s Ataxia (FA) diagnosis in medical records and is used by health insurance companies to determine coverage approval for claims.

The International Classification of Diseases (ICD) coding system was established by the World Health Organization; currently used by ~100 countries for reporting cause of death and other epidemiology statistics. The system contains codes for diseases, symptoms, abnormal findings, social circumstances, and external causes of injury. ICD-10-CM codes, or diagnosis codes, are used by clinicians to document the need for healthcare services.

When the U.S. converted from ICD-9 to ICD-10 in 2015, the code for FA became less specific because it covered a group of conditions described as “early-onset cerebellar ataxias”. The Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance (FARA), along with physicians in the Collaborative Clinical Research Network in FA, recognized a need for greater specificity and initiated the request for an FA specific code.

FARA Chief Executive Officer, Jennifer Farmer said, “We believe the new FA specific ICD-10 code G11.11 will lead to fewer rejected health insurance claims, help monitor outcomes of clinical management guidelines, and enhance ability to evaluate symptom progression and track disease prevalence.”

Fact sheets regarding use of the new ICD-10 code G11.11 are available for patients and clinicians at


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