Mary Gong is here to tell us about her friend Courtney Ng. Courtney is a co-founder of Hope For Ataxia and has ARCA1. Mary’s here to tell us what it’s like to have a friend with Ataxia.
I’ve known Courtney since 2015 at our HR management class and became close to her when we did the same internship.
Courtney is a very bubbly person who loves to laugh and you can always count on her to give you all the support that you need. She’s also a very passionate person who has also started a non-profit called Hope for Ataxia and has worked tirelessly to bring awareness to everyone.
Courtney didn’t disclose her condition to me until the summer of 2017 after we went to an Asian food festival in Markham. She explained what ataxia is to me and the symptoms and that it was a progressive condition that can only be slowed down but not cured.
Due to the rarity of ataxia, Courtney didn’t get officially diagnosed until she was 25. It took herself years to accept it herself before sharing about this condition to anyone in her family.
I felt honored when she shared it with me because she trusted me enough to do so, as I was listening to the symptoms, it was easier to look back and explain some minor things I’ve observed but never could a finger on why, such as the squiggly-ness of her writing.
Knowing Courtney has this condition never really changed our friendship except to make it stronger because I am here for her and will support her no matter what. She is a very strong woman, who enjoys life to the fullest when she tries out everything she wants to and has traveled all over the world because she wants to. The positive spirit she has towards everything really inspires me to live life the way you want to and to stand up for yourself when you need to overcome obstacles.
If anyone wants to know about ataxia, I would definitely explain it matter-of-factly and use Courtney as an example that it’s not the end of the world and you, like Courtney, can enjoy your life also to the fullest if you have the right attitude and the support and most importantly, love yourself for who you are.
Courtney is all of that and beyond and I’m honored to be her friend.
Thanks for sharing your story Mary Gong!
Ataxia not only affects those who have it but also their friends, relatives and anyone they are connected to.