I am Ryan and I have Ataxia.
All funds raised will help The Arc which provides services and programs for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. They support their full inclusion and participation in the community throughout their lives.
Ataxia is a degenerative disease of the nervous system. Many symptoms of Ataxia mimic those of being drunk, such as slurred speech, stumbling, falling, and incoordination. These symptoms are caused by damage to the cerebellum, the part of the brain that is responsible for coordinating movement.
People affected by Ataxia may experience problems with using their fingers and hands, arms, legs, walking, speaking or moving their eyes. Ataxia affects people of all ages. Age of symptom-onset can vary widely, from childhood to late-adulthood. Complications from the disease are serious and oftentimes debilitating. Some types of Ataxia can lead to an early death.
Even though Ataxia has thrown a wrench into whatever future plans I used to have for myself, I refuse to allow Ataxia to be an excuse for me.
Recently, I began to not see Ataxia as a source of shame, but to share my experience in hopes of educating and inspiring others about it. I started a YouTube channel, Facebook page, and Instagram page to aid this process. I helped form a support group for other Ataxians. I have created content for people who have Ataxia and those around them to help understand what we go through.
Earlier this year I walked a marathon to help raise awareness for Ataxia and to show people what they are capable of. At this point in my life, I realize that walking is not really safe for me, as I fall a lot. So my next endeavor is a bicycle race, where I don’t have that worry. I had a trike in the past, and went for leisure rides…but nothing competitive. On April 13th, I donated my trike to a little boy with a super rare form of Ataxia, as he will never be able to ride a normal bike. My hope is to continue raising awareness and teaching both myself and others what Ataxians are capable of, despite whatever may lie in our way. My goal for next May is a 535 mile ride from Houston to New Orleans.
Tour du Rouge is a premier cycling tour travelling Houston to New Orleans over 6 days.
Please help me make this ride possible by donating! The donations go to the non-profit the arc and are tax deductible.