Living with Friedreich Ataxia: Sam’s story


“My name is Sam Bridgman. I'm 28 years old, and I was diagnosed with Friedreich's Ataxia at 15.

I started to get symptoms probably when I was around age 12. I would always play baseball with my dad, and he would hit the ball to me, and I would have trouble tracking the baseball. So instead of me getting better at sports, I was getting worse.

I would trip and fall on the ground. My parents would ask me what happened, and I’d be like ‘the ground jumped up and tripped my foot’ or something.

I think my parents thought something was wrong, but I didn't really think anything of it, and it took about three years to eventually go to the neurologist and do a blood test for FA.

I mean, high school is a tough time for everyone, and when you add something like an FA diagnosis into the mix, that makes it even harder. I did not tell anyone for probably a good year and a half.  I just kept living my life like I did not have FA, pretty much. 
I would say to not wait to tell your friends about FA. It's always good to have friends and family that are by your side. The friends that I told are some of my best friends today. 

My tattoo says, ‘Seek a Miracle’ and ‘Impossible is Nothing” with baseball stitching in between. My parents and my brother all have the same tattoo. ‘Seek a Miracle,’: because FA doesn't have a cure we're seeking a miracle every day. And then ‘Impossible is Nothing’: that’s always kind of stuck with me and always been my life motto that I live by.

Life is not over.

Keep moving forward every single second of every single day.”

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