Students from Arcadia University’s Genetic Counseling master’s program were up before the sun on Oct. 7 to support Philadelphia’s fourth annual Ride Ataxia, a bicycle race to benefit the Friedrich’s Ataxia Research Alliance (FARA), a national, non-profit organization dedicated to curing Friedrich’s ataxia (FA) through research. FA is a debilitating, life-shortening, degenerative neuro-muscular disorder that is usually diagnosed in childhood.

By 6:30 in the morning, 11 students from the graduate program, along with clinical coordinator Lisa Kessler and her husband, Dan, were outfitted in bright yellow “Ride Ataxia” t-shirts for work at the registration tables, directing traffic as the 464 competitors and their teams of supporters arrived on site. Second-year student Allison Davis stood with Ron Bartek, president and co-founder of FARA, at the entrance to the event, directing traffic and greeting each carload with a warm, welcoming smile. Davis was impressed that Bartek knew by name almost every FA family that arrived.

Read More: Genetic Counseling Students Volunteer at Ride Ataxia Benefit