While wandering around Dunmanway Show recently I came across a charity stall. It was a charity that I hadn’t heard of before but one that does amazing work.
Ataxia Ireland (formerly The Friedreich’s Ataxia Society Ireland) is a national support group for families living with ataxia and was founded in 1980.
It provides funding for research, support for carers and respite and counselling.
Friedreichs Ataxia (FA) is a genetic disorder of the central nervous system and is the most common recessive ataxia with one in 90 people being carriers of the gene. It becomes apparent in children between the ages of 6 and 16. There are many different types of ataxias with 32 spin-cerebellar ataxias being diagnosed so far.
Ataxia Ireland (AI) provides essential services such as equipment and accommodation grants, respite and counselling. Three social gatherings a year for members, families and friends are held as well as as an annual summer break for members. AI supports local and worldwide research projects.
Dr Nicolaus Friedreich was the first person to describe the symptoms of this kind of ataxia. Some types of ataxia are inherited but there are many different types. Ataxia means ‘lack of co-ordination’, it is a progressive disorder mainly affecting the nervous system. Mainly people with FA experience problems caused by damaged nerve cells that eventually die. The nerves mainly affected are those of the spinal cord and those connecting it to the rest of the body.
FA is rare with about 2 people in 50,000 in Ireland having the disorder. Symptoms include poor co-ordination, clumsiness, balance problems and slurred speech. FA results in physical disability but does not usually affect people’s intellect or mental capabilities. There is currently no treatment for FA but there has been a surge in research programmes all over the world.
For more specific information, advice or support please check out there website here.