Sam Bridgman Name: Sam Bridgman

Age: 32

Where do you call home? Seattle, Washington

Education: Undergraduate degree at University of Portland. Class of 2013. MBA and Masters in Sport and Entertainment Management at the University of South, Florida. Class of 2017

Who do you live with? I live at home with my parents, girlfriend, and brother.

How long have you known you are living with FA I was diagnosed the summer after freshman year of high school when I was 15.

Are there any others with FA in your family: Not that I know of.

Describe your transition from walking to walker/wheelchair: I was very hesitant starting to use a wheelchair to get around. When I needed it, my friends and family had to almost physically force me into the wheelchair lol. I started using the wheelchair to get around my freshman year of undergrad at University Portland. I would use the wheelchair to go from the dorm room to the lobby of the classroom building and then I would walk up the stairs into class. I did this for a few years and then started using the wheelchair almost 100% of the time by the end of undergrad (I was probably 22 by then). At this point, I am grateful for my manual wheelchair and my power chair because it offers me freedom to do more things in life without having to worry as much about safety and fatigue levels.

Sam BridgmanWhat do you like to do to stay active and what type of exercises work for you to stay strong? I do physical therapy twice a week and have a goal of doing the standing frame twice a day 10 minutes each time. I also am buying a handcycle that I will be able to ride more regularly. Can’t wait for this! Recently, it has been tough to find the motivation to work out and keep my body strong. I am working on this though.

Do you have any hobbies or special interests: I love to watch movies and TV shows, hangout with friends, and watch/play sports. Baseball is probably my favorite, but basketball and football are up there as well.

What is a good trick to make daily life easier: We just installed a ceiling lift in my room at home that goes from the bed to the toilet and then also into the shower. It makes life a lot easier for sure. This is called a Surehands lift.

When FA gets you down, what do you think/do to feel better: There are a few things that I like to do on days like this. Some examples are watching a movie/TV show, hanging out with friends and going to a baseball game, or simply getting my body moving.

What is one way living with FA has POSITIVELY affected your life: I have been able to meet so many people who I otherwise would have never met. This has made my life exponentially better.

What is a favorite motivational quote of yours? I have a lot of favorite quotes, but one of my favorites is ‘Impossible is nothing’ – Muhammad Ali

What is the best advice YOU could give to a person who has been newly diagnosed with FA? I would say to get involved in the FARA community and to be open to telling close friends about FA. I waited to tell close friends about FA because I was worried they would react negatively, which was totally wrong.

What piece of advice that someone with FA has given you that encourages and inspires you? No specific advice, but two people I have always looked up to are Sean Baumstark and Kyle Bryant. I love their 2 Disabled Dudes podcast!

What is the first thing you want to do when a cure/treatment for FA is found? Probably throw some baseball with friends and run around the bases.

"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? Makes me feel like I can do anything I set my mind to when I think of this statement. I try to keep moving forward every single second of every single day.

Interviewed by
Andrea Keiss