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International Ataxia Awareness Day

On International Ataxia Awareness Day (IAAD), individuals and ataxia organizations—including the National Ataxia Foundation—work to shed light on and raise awareness about ataxia, a rare, degenerative neurological disease. Events and activities are planned, which include, but are not limited to, the raising of money and the teaching of others about the disease. Walk N' Roll to Cure Ataxia is one type of event commonly held on the day. Proclamations for the day are also often obtained for cities and states.

The name of the disease comes from the Greek word "a taxis," which means "without order or coordination." Ataxia can afflict the young and old alike and can be either a hereditary or acquired disease. There are various types of ataxia, which display different types of symptoms, and may progress slowly or quickly. Ataxia affects the ability of a person to talk, walk, and use fine motor skills. People with the disease have damaged cerebellums, and their symptoms may look similar to if a person was drunk, with slurred speech, incoordination, stumbling, and falling being common. Ataxia can sometimes even lead to an early death. It is estimated that 150,000 people in the United States have the disease. Those who have it are often treated with medication and therapy and may use wheelchairs, scooters, and walkers to get around.

How to Observe International Ataxia Awareness Day

Here are a few ideas on how to observe the day:

  • Participate in a Walk N' Roll to Cure Ataxia event.
  • Learn more about the disease at the National Ataxia Foundation website.
  • Become an ataxia advocate.
  • Become a member of the National Ataxia Foundation.
  • Donate to the National Ataxia Foundation.
  • Find an ataxia support group.
  • Access a campaign kit, as well as information about how to get a proclamation or resolution for the day, on the day's official webpage.
  • Take group photos of yourself and others holding hands and locking arms, and post them to the National Ataxia Foundation social media pages with the hashtag #UnitedAgainstAtaxia.
  • Look for other events dedicated to the day happening in your community.

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