Hello Friends & Family,
My name is Chris Meyer and I am 31 years old. I was born and raised in Chino Hills, California by my loving parents Jerry & Melissa. I have an older sister Amanda and a younger broTher Jon. Growing up I was a very active participating in baseball, fishing, skateboarding and just about anything outdoors.
At age 15 people close to me began to notice small abnormalities to how I walked and it was attributed to my feet and legs growing. Through my high school years I attended Ruben s. Ayala where my athleticism declined as did my motor skill.
Senior year in high school with a awkward gait I went to a family physician at kaiser with vague symptoms. The doctor referred me to a nuerologist and upon my first visit referred me for a genetic test. The results came back positive for Freidreichs Ataxia.
Friedreich's ataxia is caused by a defect in a gene called Frataxin . This gene is located on chromosome 9. Changes in this gene cause the body to make too much of a part of DNA called trinucleotide repeat (GAA). Normally, the body contains about 8 to 30 copies of GAA. I have over 800 copies.
Friedreich's ataxia is an autosogenetic disorder. This means you must get a copy of the defective gene from both your mother and father.
At diagnosis I was told this would be what I had ahead of myself:
Changes in vision, particularly color vision
Decrease in ability to feel vibrations in lower limbs
Foot problems, such as hammer toe and high arches
Hearing loss -- occurs in about 10% of patients
Jerky eye movements
Loss of coordination and balance, which leads to frequent falls
No reflexes in the legs
Unsteady gait and uncoordinated movements (ataxia) -- gets worse with time
There is no treatment or cure.
At time of diagnosis I showed symptoms of a unsteady gait and thats about it. I was still pretty athletic and was in denial at the time. Now about 14 years later I am wheelchair bound, have abnormal speech, foot problems, Diabetes, High blood pressure, and a loss of coordination but this is my life.
These symptoms just slow me down a lil........but it doesn't stop me. Everyone has their own problems in life whether it be physical, mental, love, money etc. Mine is visible, but be kind to everyone you never know their battles.
This March I will be entering into the 27th annual L.A. Marathon with my long-time Friend Ryan Lane. Ryan has been accomplished marathon runner for the past few years and has intrigued me to embark on this 26 mile journey. I would like to have a handcycle or some sort of power assist for my wheelchair. Ryan will also assist in pushing me if needed, while running the race himself. This goal has been set so I have time to train and build my strength and stamina
The new equipment (Hand cycle) along with race fees this becomes quite expensive. If my friends and family can pitch in a small amount of money to help me fund my goal it would be greatly appreciated. I will keep everyone updated through a Facebook group.
Let me know if you have any questions or comments.
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