CarliCarli (Hook) Hanson, 36, from Michigan City, Indiana.

After watching my sister find her diagnosis from across the country, I saw symptoms in myself at 22 (occasional loss of balance). I graduated from Texas A&M at Galveston with a BS in Marine Administration. I am happily divorced with two kids. My parents are close by and help a lot with the kids. I worked for a small concrete construction company for 10 years before "retiring" to disability.


I'm stronger than I ever thought possible because of the lessons I've learned from having FA. I have so much more empathy for any kind of disability. I've found that everyone has something, so I am more comfortable in my skin because I've stopped chasing perfection and can concentrate on chasing happiness. Learning to be easier on myself and asking/accepting help from others is a constant struggle, but it's a lesson that I would never have learned. Also, people with FA are awesome. If I did not have this diagnosis I would never have met the FA community. My parents started FA Woodstock almost 10 years ago as a way for people with FA to just hang out with people that get it. It's an event that I (and my kids!) look forward to every year. Having someone to relate to on an FA level is A-MAZ-ING! I am living the best life I can with the hand that I've been dealt. You are able to choose to be happy, no matter what.

I like to do things I shouldn't be able to do; sailing, skiing, rock climbing, scuba diving, one lesson for kite surfing (I have to get in the water this year!), and I'm hoping to skydive this year!