I love to be independent, I love to be free and I love to travel. Being completely unable to walk and using a wheelchair is the challenge. I was born with Friedreich’s ataxia, a degenerative disease of the nervous system.

I was first diagnosed with Friedreich’s Ataxia at age 8, so my walking got progressively worse throughout my school years. At the age of 19, as I started university, I had lost the ability to walk. At the age of 21 I decided to travel the world.

My inspiration has always been based around my deteriorating condition. I have always needed to live my life to the full because my condition is constantly worsening which means – what I can do today, will become more difficult in the future.

I choose to travel solo because I would experience complete freedom of when, where and how to travel. I needed to travel on a tight budget so would often stay in hostel dormitories rather than regular hotels. I would travel by any means available, even hitch hiking on my own, or being towed around the streets of Asia behind a motorbike.

I have Friedreich’s Ataxia is an inherited genetic disease of the central nervous system in which there is a progressive deterioration of coordination and muscle control. Friedreich’s Ataxia is inherited from both parents,

Initial symptoms include curvature of the spine (scoliosis) and the ability to walk deteriorates.

Walking becomes more of a challenge as time progresses. Problems include co-ordination, control and balance. At some stage a wheelchair will be required. Arm and hand movement also become uncoordinated and uncontrolled.

Friedreich’s Ataxia continues to deteriorate and can cause cardiac problems, diabetes, vision loss, speech difficulties and hearing problems. Life expectancy is generally shorter, although some people can live into their 60s or beyond. As with many degenerative diseases of the nervous system, there is currently no cure or effective treatment for Friedreich’s ataxia. Clinical research and drug therapies continue.

I took my first ever flight to the USA to fulfill a dream. I decided that my life had just begun and knew there was a world of opportunities and experiences for me to discover.

Love the life you live – Live the life you love

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