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Meet Grace Haupt. She’s a 6th grader at Episcopal Academy. She’s a young student who truly loves learning and school. In fact, she says that she hopes to ultimately have a career in some field of science. Her other passions include reading, the Phillies, and her friends, with whom she shares a mutual admiration. Grace has Friedreich’s Ataxia, a rare neurological disorder that affects her muscular coordination and balance. But to her friends, she’s no different than anyone else. Grace’s nonchalant attitude towards her condition has empowered those around her, leading her buddies to raise around $1,000 for the Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance. But her resolve has touched them in other ways, too – they see her strength as a lesson in perseverance through hardship.

Grace’s family is gearing up to participate in the 5th-annual Ride Ataxia bike event in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, which brings awareness and research dollars for FARA and is an opportunity for the ataxia community to unite in a race for the cure. Her mom, Holly Hedrick, has organized a team from her employer CHOP in addition to family members to ride with her and Grace. We wish them good luck!

PHL-17 is a proud media partner of Ride Ataxia. Tune into Eye Opener all week for more compelling stories of people impacted by Friedrich’s Ataxia. The annual biking event will take place at Montgomery County Community College in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania the morning of October 13. Visit to learn more.