AAIDOWNINGTOWN, PA-- The Friedreich's Ataxia Research Alliance (FARA) in partnership with the Burrows Hill Foundation (burrows-hill.org) have partnered once again to distribute adaptive cycling equipment through Ataxian Athlete Initiative (AAI). The AAI is a unique program serving people with ataxia who have demonstrated a strong desire to stay healthy and fit despite their progressive disabilities. 

Friedreich's ataxia (FA) is a rare disease that affects balance and coordination and has symptoms such as vision and hearing loss and often results in life-shortening heart complications.

This year, the AAI was sponsored by Catrike, UVA Sun Systems, The Texas Irish Foundation and The Burrows Hill Foundation. The Burrows Hill Foundation generously provided over 80% of the funding for the 2018 AAI.


"The Burrows Hill Foundation is so proud to team with such a worthy and well-established program such as the AAI. We are aware how important it is for those with ataxia to stay active and healthy and are honored to be able to help provide adaptive cycling equipment to these worthy applicants."

AAI grants are administered through a competitive application process. Applicants research the most appropriate adaptive cycling equipment to suit their abilities and describe how such equipment would help them to reach their fitness goals and improve their quality of life.

"Just knowing I am not alone, and that others have overcome the challenges, and utilize alternative methods to stay active has helped me to realize that there is hope for me," said 2018 grant recipient Julie Vallier. "I will feel the freedom of the outdoors again. I believe that adaptive cycling will be my next challenge...CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!"

AAI 2The AAI has provided equipment for 53 individuals since 2009. In 2018, the AAI funded 11 grants for adaptive cycling equipment to athletes from 8 states and 2 countries including: Casey Kasselder of Pasco, WA, Danielle Ciccotti of Preston, CT, Francis Orlowski of Piermont, NH, Gregory Klassen of Elkridge, MD, Jeff Rose of Cardiff, CA, Julie Vallier of Gwinn, MI, Tim Hibscher of Minneapolis, MN, Vladimir Ayriyan of La Mesa, CA, Wenseslao Reyes of Aloha, OR, Zachary Hennessy of Alamo, CA, and Aleksandra Zienkiewicz of Oulu, Finland.

Visit curefa.org/aai for more information and to view more photos of past recipients. The next application cycle begins in Spring 2018.

About Friedreich's Ataxia Research Alliance
The Friedreich's Ataxia Research Alliance (FARA) is a national, public, 501(c)(3), non-profit, tax-exempt organization dedicated to curing Friedreich's ataxia (FA) through research. FARA grants and activities provide support for basic and translational FA research, pharmaceutical/biotech drug development, clinical trials, and scientific conferences. FARA also serves as a catalyst, between the public and scientific community, to create worldwide exchanges of information that drive medical advances. For more information about FARA, visit curefa.org.
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