Name: Cody Ryan
Where do you call home? Lexington, Kentucky
Education/Career: Bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Kentucky
What’s a typical day for you? I spend most days reading and watching television.
How long have you known you are living with FA? A doctor diagnosed me with FA when I was 15, in the ninth grade.
Describe your transition from walking to walker/wheelchair: After grabbing onto anything to stabilize to keep my balance for numerous years, I began using a wheelchair around the age of 18. I regret not using a walker more and exercising my legs. My balance has deteriorated to the point where walking, even with assistance, is extremely difficult if not impossible.
What do you like to do to stay active and what type of exercises work for you to stay strong? I exercise a few times a week. I have a Total Gym, which allows me to perform a less-resistant inclined squat. I also have a machine weight exercise machine in my garage. Yes, keeping my legs strong is important, but my main goal is to get my heart pumping and increase my circulation.
Do you have any hobbies or special interests? I like to watch sports. Since I am from Lexington, I am a major University of Kentucky fan (go Big Blue)!
What is a good trick to make daily life easier? It’s good for people to live in the present, but I find it easier when I have events and goals to look forward to and strive for completing.
When FA gets you down, what do you think/do to feel better? When FA makes me feel down, I think to myself, my life could always be worse. To feel better, I listen to a podcast that makes me laugh.
What is one way living with FA has POSITIVELY affected your life? FA has positively affected my life by forcing me to focus on academics. Learning about anything and everything has become a passion of mine and is easier when you are thrust into a sedentary lifestyle.
What is a favorite motivational quote of yours? “Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.” - John Wooden.
What piece of advice that someone with FA has given you that encourages and inspires you? This is not from someone with FA, but Stephen Hawking gave an excellent piece of advice to people living with a disability, “My advice to other disabled people would be: concentrate on things your disability doesn’t prevent you doing well, and don’t regret the things it interferes with. Don’t be disabled in spirit as well as physically.”
What is the best advice YOU could give a person who has been recently diagnosed with FA? One last quote… “Everything seems impossible until it happens.” - Nelson Mandela
What is the first thing you want to do when a cure/treatment to FA is found? Play basketball. I played basketball everyday until the age of 20. I would enjoy running, jumping, and feeling the satisfaction of seeing the ball pass through the hoop.
"I have FA but FA doesn't have me." What does this statement mean to you? How do you live your life in the face of adversity? The statement means FA might control my body and how I am perceived physically, but my personality isn’t disabled. My intelligence isn’t disabled. My kindness isn’t disabled. My ambitions and dreams are bigger than most abled-bodied individuals.