Friedreich’s Ataxia (FA) or not, traveling can be a stressful event between the planning and traveling. It can take a toll on person mentally and physically. Adding a debilitating disease on top of the stress does not make it easy! However, as Gandhi once said, “Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength”. I recently had the chance to travel for work where I decided to overcome my hardships of living with FA with the idea of traveling.
I still try to try live an independent life to the best of my ability. I still walk, with little assistance of a friendly arm or my recently invested rollator. I started working at the Hyatt at The Bellevue in Philadelphia, PA as the Reservations Coordinator this past July. Within months of me working there, I was presented an amazing opportunity to travel to Hyatt’s Corporate Reservation Center in Omaha, NE. This was my chance to travel on my own, connect and meet with other Revenue/Reservations Colleagues and receive systems training to advance my career. Even though I was a little apprehensive not only traveling on my first business trip, but traveling for the first time since my diagnosis of FA (it will be five years this upcoming April). I decide to put myself out there and not let FA define me.
When making flight arrangements prior to my trip, I requested handicap service for boarding on and off the plane and I am very glad I did! With the quick turnover of changing of flights with layovers, I knew it was not practical of walking from gate to gate in time. The wheelchair assistance came in handy (no pun intended!) and it made me feel invincible once again.
My business trip involved systems training all day with our nights free to network. My new Hyatt work family and I would find a spot for dinner and explore Omaha each night. The location that we were staying was in the old marketplace section of the city, which means cobblestones. Cobblestone streets and sidewalks can be an FA’ers’ worst nightmare! However, my team of colleagues was very accepting and welcoming with open arms, literally and figuratively by helping me walk. I couldn’t have asked for a more supportive group of individuals to be traveling with!
Always remember the word “ABLE” is in disabled. Just because you have a fear of doing something you aren’t able to anymore, don’t let it hold you back. I know that I may not be able to accomplish things as effective as everyone else, but I can still do the same things at my own pace and way and still get to the same end result. It is also important to remember to never be afraid to ask for help. There is nothing more critical than your own safety and well-being, it is okay to put your needs first. I had such a positive experience on my first business trip and I can’t wait to do it again!
Christina Logan is currently 26 years old and lives in Philadelphia, PA. Christina works full-time at the Hyatt at The Bellevue, while receiving her MBA at the Johnson & University Online MBA Program. Christina is living a full and independent life in Philadelphia! She is surrounded by constant love and support from her family, friends and her recent fiancé, Justin! She doesn’t know where she would be without everyone and is very grateful for them!