Hello. My name is Christopher Marsh. I'm a 45 year old college graduate from Buffalo, NY. Now I live in Chicago, IL. I lived the first ½ of my life like anyone else. Doing schoolwork, having fun with friends, and being athletic. Then around the age of 22 or 23, I became symptomatic of a disease I've had my whole life. It's called Spino Cerebellar Ataxia type II. It's a genetic, neurological disorder that effects the cerebellum, the small part in the back of the brain that controls balance, speech, strength, swallowing, mobility, and coordination. My type of ataxia (SCA2) is hereditary.
My father had it, along with one sister, and two of his brothers. Two of my cousins have also been effected, along with my late son.The onset of symptoms is very slow and subtle. However, over time, you pretty much loose the ability to do everything. Currently, I'm in a power wheelchair. I run an Ataxia support group in the city here. I just try to lead and contribute, and do the best I can, with a dumb joke on the tip of my tongue and an ever-present smile on my face. This disease is very emotional. If I wasn't smiling so much, I'd probably be crying. I think I chose the better one.
I don't believe a cure for my ailment is going to be found in my lifetime. I mean, if they do, that's fantastic, however, I hope and pray that a beneficial treatment is created very soon. And only research funds is going to do that. I will be in two Ataxia fundraisers this summer. My comrade and very good friend Jonas – of the Fight Ataxia Project, put together the Walk this Way and Rockin for Ataxia fundraisers on September 10, 2016. I would really appreciate it if you could donate what you can afford.
Thank you - Topher