impossible is nothing

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Feature story on an UP student living with Friedreich's Ataxia, a rare neuro-muscular disease.

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  • LIVING6 November 3, 2011

    The tattoo wraps aroundhis wrist, the red stitches likeseamsonabaseballparallelingtwo powerful statements indeepblackink:SeekAMiracle,ImpossibleIsNothing.

    For junior Sam Bridgman,a miracle would be a cure foradisease that affectsonly1 in50,000 people in the UnitedStates.

    In spite of this, Bridgmanrefuses to let FriedreichsAtaxia, a hereditary anddegenerative neuromuscular!"#$%#$&'!$()$'*"+,'

    Sincehisdiagnosisat15,thisresolutionhasneverfaltered.

    I have the attitude, andI still do, that I dont care,he said. Im just going to dowhatevermakesmehappy.

    An avid athlete, Bridgmanwould spend hours playingbaseball with his dad until hegotitright.

    Sam was really, reallytenacious,sayshisgirlfriendofayear andahalf, juniorMollyBillingham. He just wanted itsobad.

    Butduring the springofhisfreshman year of high school,Bridgman found himselfrepeatedly stumbling intodoors and tripping. He wasoverwhelmingly fatigued.Thenhe didnt make the baseballteam, triggering his search forananswer.

    He tried acupuncture, achiropractor and a scoliosisspecialist.

    It took a neurologist and-.//!' 0$#0' 0/' ()%..1' !"%2)/#$'him with FriedreichsAtaxia, a diseasethatattacks the

    bodys nervous system andaffectsitsabilitytomove.Theneurologist toldhim that inhis36yearsofwork,Bridgmanwasonlyhisfourthcase.

    30' (4#0' "0' !"!)50' %66$70' *"+'much. During high school and*"#'(4#0' 1$%4'/6' 7/..$2$'*$'8%#'stillabletowalk.Butnowinawheelchair,Bridgmanseeshowthe progression has hit him,regardlessofhisstrength.

    My nerves are in a sensestupid, he said. They arelosing everything they have.They dont know how to usetheirstrength.

    But when he bikes,impossibleisnothing.Bikingissomethinghisbodystill allowshimtodo.

    Inspringof2008,Bridgmantook off from Sacramento,Calif.andkeptpedalinguntilhehitLasVegas,Nev.Ittookhimtwoweeks.Duringthattime, he raised $100,000for Friedreichs Ataxiaresearch.

    For the 560miletrip Bridgman rode withtheRideAtaxiaprogram,whichworks with the FriedreichsAtaxia Research Alliance(F.A.R.A.) to raise money tobeat the disease.Bridgman hasdone several rides, normallybringingalonghisfamilyand

    friends.Biking gives him away to get out and

    explore.Ithelpshim0/'(..'0*$'9/"!,

    Itmakes

    me feel likemy legs and bodyarealive,hesaid.Andthatisagreatfeeling.

    Anotherthingthatgiveshimthatfeelingisbaseball.

    Under the arc of lights at:%6$7/' ;"$.!&'

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