Rebecca Parisi 1 Name: Rebecca Parisi

Age: 30, 31 in May

Where do you call home? Northern IL.

Education (degree(s): I have my Associates Degree in Business, and a Medical Office certificate. I have been looking for remote work from home.

Who do you live with? My husband and 2 kids.

What's a typical day for you? I’m a stay at home mom. Each morning I get my daughter ready for kindergarten, she takes the bus there. Then it’s me and my 4 year old son home all day.

How long have you known you are living with FA? I was diagnosed when I was 21, about 10 years ago. It was fairly quick. I saw a doctor and Rush in Chicago, an ENT. He didn’t know what it was and sent me to Northwestern to his friend who knew more specializing. Then he diagnosed me and sent me to Dr Gomez at the University of Chicago.

Rebecca Parisi 2Are there any others with FA in your family? Yes, my two younger sisters.

Describe your transition from walking to walker/wheelchair. I just started using my chair full time. I still can use my walker but it’s just a lot slower and tires me out.

What do you like to do to stay active and what type of exercises work for you to stay strong? I have been looking into upper body and core routines. I also like chair yoga.

Do you have any hobbies or special interests? I love to read. And online shop :)

What is a good trick to make daily life easier? humor, making fun of yourself.

Rebecca Parisi 3 When FA gets you down, what do you think/do to feel better? Joke about it and have my husband comfort me.

What is one way living with FA has POSITIVELY affected your life? It honestly made me a better person. I was very judgmental and prissy growing up. FA has showed me that you can’t judge someone for how they look, people are amazing no matter their differences.

What is a favorite motivational quote of yours? "Train your mind to see the good in everything. Positivity is a choice. The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts"

What is the best advice YOU could give to a person who has been newly diagnosed with FA? Stay positive, use your walking aides. It’s there to help.

What is the first thing you want to do when a cure/treatment to FA is found? Go in the ocean.

"I have FA but FA doesn't have me." What does this statement mean to you? FA doesn’t and won’t hold me back from a fulfilling life.

Rebecca Parisi 4

Interviewed by Andrea Kiess