Meet Mekayla Holm!

Hey, how are ya?!

Here is a special guest post from Mekayla Holm! Mekayla is 23-years-old and from Saint Paul, Minnesota. She is a recent college graduate from St. Catherine University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Data Science.

Mekayla, like me, suffers from the neuromuscular disease Friedreich’s ataxia (FA). However, she is not letting her physical disability slow her down! See Mekayla’s Instagram page and follow her journey!

Meet Mekayla Holm!

Hello everyone! My name is Mekayla Holm, and I am currently 23 years old. I was born and raised in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota, but I’m looking to get out of the frigid cold winters and move down south someday!

It was the summer before my senior year of high school when I was diagnosed with Friedreich’s Ataxia. I was 17 years old and trying to plan out college, which dictates the rest of my life—kind of a rough time to receive a devastating diagnosis of FA. 

Growing up, I was an avid dancer. I danced competitively for 12 years. Not being able to dance anymore has got to be in the top five things that I dislike the most about FA, which is right up there with people thinking I can’t do something because of this disease! I cope with not being able to dance by staying as active as I can so I can dance again someday 🙂 

A quote I love by day today is, “She believed she could, so she did.” I love to prove people wrong because I don’t think that having a progressive neuromuscular disease should dictate whether or not you can accomplish something. There are always different ways to do things that non-disabled people might not think of, so I like to help educate them by advocating for others. 

This past December, I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Data Science. Receiving my diploma was a big deal!  During my schooling, I faced many hardships due to what people thought I could and couldn’t do due to having FA. I, unfortunately, faced a lot of discrimination, but through contact with the right supportive people, I found a program that took me under their wing and helped me find a fantastic internship.

Currently, I am working full-time as a Business Analyst after receiving a job offer at the end of my internship. I’m very passionate about FAers and the disability community joining the workforce, which leads me to some of the advocacy work I’m doing! I’m an ambassador for FARA and have been since 2019. I am on the social media team, so I help create content to spread awareness and fundraise for FA research. 

It’s weird kickstarting my career in the middle of a pandemic, but I am so excited for my future and the great things to come with FA research!  Keeping myself involved in the FA community has been the best way to fight this disease.

One Love, Joey, and Mekayla

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