Rhea HoffmanName – Rhea Hoffman

Age – 31

Where do you call home? Milwaukee, WI

Education – High School Diploma and a few years of college for Criminal Justice, Fire Science & Psychology.

What is your relationship status? Single, no kids. Live with my older brother & sister-in-law.

What is a typical day for you? Work full time, commute time is about 30 mins each way. We always have a lot of family gatherings during the weekends.

How long have you known you are living with FA? I was diagnosed September 6th, 2010.

Rhea CollageAre there any others with FA in your family? I'm the oldest child of my two parents and my younger siblings have not been tested or do not want to be tested.

Describe your transition from walking to walker/wheelchair. I'm still able to walk with no assistance in the house but I like to hang on to a family/friend member when going somewhere.

What do you like to do to stay active and what type of exercises work for you to stay strong? I don't do much to stay active. On the off chance that I feel like exercising I have a row machine that I like to use.

Do you have any hobbies or special interests? I read lots of books and watch movies & TV shows.

When FA gets you down, what do you think/do to feel better? I think God has a plan for me and I could be worse off than I am.

What is one way living with FA has POSITIVELY affected your life? I'm not sure yet, I'm still looking for that answer.

What is a favorite motivational quote of yours? "All the gods, all the heavens, all the hells are within you."

Rhea Hoffman 5What is the best advice YOU could give to a person who has been newly diagnosed with FA? Keep doing everything you have been doing, ie: sports, running, go on that vacation... until you absolutely can't do those things physically anymore. Don't take anything for granted and live your best life.

What is the first thing you want to do when a cure/treatment to FA is found? Enlist in the Marine Corps

"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? I need to tell myself that phrase more often. I know what it means to me. It means I'm not going to give up with anything when it comes to FA affecting my day to day life or I'm going to find a new way of doing things.

Tell us a little more about you. I'm one of 10 children. I'm lucky #7. My 6 older siblings have a different father but we were all raised under one roof. I have 14 nieces, 6 nephews & 1 great-niece with 2 more on the way. Throughout my childhood I was athletic and on every sport, you could be in, in school. I also took dance classes.

After high school, I worked as a waitress and went to school for criminal justice & fire science. I had also applied for the police department (the application process can take up to 4 years). Then I joined the Army National Guard in January 2010. I went through basic training and passed everything but my run test. I did not know why I couldn't run (I had been a long-distance runner my whole life). I was generally discharged from the Army on July 7th, 2010. I came home feeling devastated and not knowing how this happened. Shortly after I was speaking with my friend and told her how I was feeling physically. She told me to go to the Dr. because it sounded like I had MS. I was then diagnosed in Sept of that year with FA. I was accepted by the police department to take the physical & PT test but did not because I knew I wouldn't have made it.

So, I went back to school for psychology. I now work for my dad at his property management business. I have been in a drug trial since November 16th, 2018 and go to Columbus, OH, every 6 months.

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