positive attitude after shock diagnosis
with around 30 other sufferers.
Joanna is studying drama at school and hopes she can help change people’s perceptions of disability by fulfilling her dream of becoming an actress.
She said: “I would love to be an actress but for now I’m just happy to take one day at a time.”
The teenager is preparing to undergo surgery in January to correct a painful curvature of her spine.
Joanna’s mum Kate, who works in retail, said: “It’s really hard for her but she always tries to look on the bright side.
“We were at an 18th birthday party recently and I knew what was going through her mind.
“It’s also quite hard for me because I know we have the gene.
“My hope is that in the future she will be able to live independently.”
For more information about Ataxia visit website www.ataxia.org.uk