Patient Stories: Life at College With Friedreich’s Ataxia

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by Wendy Henderson |

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In this video from Merissa Blitz, Alison Avery talks about living with Friedreich’s ataxia (FA) while at college. Alison is a freshman at Elon University in North Carolina and is studying human services.

MORE: Five major symptoms of Friedreich’s ataxia

Alison explains that Friedreich’s ataxia is a genetic progressive neuromuscular disease and that she was diagnosed with the condition at the age of 15. FA currently affects Alison’s balance and ability to walk but it could progress to a point where she requires a walker or wheelchair and impact her speech.

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College life is not without frustrations for Alison. Access is limited as the dormitories have stairs at the entrance without any ramps for wheelchairs and some of the buildings on campus don’t have elevators. However, she is enjoying college life and has made lots of great friends who have been very understanding about her condition.

MORE: Explaining Friedrich’s ataxia

Friedreich’s Ataxia News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.