Ataxia comes in a wide range of variation of forms and names. Gary Peterson had what is called Spinocerebellar Ataxia which affects 1 in 100,000 people in America. It is passed down by the mother and father who carry the mutation in their genes and then to the child. Spinocerebellar Ataxia also know as SCA Ataxia, typically develops later in life between the ages of 30-50, but can also develop much later in life, which is uncommon. SCA Ataxia is a disorder of the Central Nervous System and is characterized by a slow progression of incoordination in walk and movement. It is often associated with poor coordination of hands, speech, eye movements and a loss of fine coordination of muscle movements leading to unsteady and clumsy motion. And the real kick of all of this is that a person with ataxia retains full mental capacity but progressively loses physical control. You begin to stumble as you walk to the point that you need a cane and then move to a walker, which then leads to the need for a wheelchair, which ultimately puts you in an electric wheelchair making you completely dependent on others.
There is no cure for this disease as of yet, but doctors and scientists are making breakthroughs in the ability to halt the onset of the disease. To continue making strides they need our help.
Dealing with this disease can be the scariest, most frustrating, powerless experience - for both the diagnosed and the family. Families having to adjust to this physically and emotionally taxing experience are supported by the Ataxia foundation, both through education, emotional support, but also through the facilitation of obtaining wheelchairs. Your donations not only fund research, but aid in the support of families dealing with this monster experience.
You can learn more about all the types of Ataxia through the National Ataxia Foundation as well make a donation to the foundation.
Further Information about Ataxia and how you can donate: