Dr. Christopher Gomez is an expert in neurogenetic disorders, gait and balance disorders, and in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with ataxias -- a family of rare neurodegenerative diseases. Since 1991, Dr. Gomez has been on the medical and research advisory board of the National Ataxia Foundation. He currently serves as the vice chair of the Neurogenetics Section of the American Academy of Neurology.

Dr. Gomez's laboratory research concentrates on the molecular and cellular mechanisms of neurodegenerative disease--with a focus on the means by which genetic mutations in ion channels or other essential proteins lead to dominantly inherited neurodegenerative diseases. His research has resulted in more than 50 peer-reviewed publications in scientific journals.

Shiva Singh studied personally for the over 35 years with Yogi Bhajan, his spiritual mentor and beloved teacher. He has practiced and taught thousands of hours of Kundalini Yoga and Meditation and White Tantric Yoga making him one of the few teachers in the Midwest certified by Yoga Alliance as an E-RYT 500, Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher at the 500 Hour level. He is a Senior Level 1 and Level 2 Teacher Trainer. He has been the director of 3HO Foundation planned living communities called ashrams, and has had the honor of training teachers and impacting lives of people spread around the world.

Shiva Singh emphasizes that Kundalini Yoga, not a religion, is a transformational psycho-technical practice.

Jonas Cepkauskas was diagnosed almost 20 years ago with an unknown SCA. Only recently has he been confirmed to have SCA 15, which currently affects about a dozen members of his family. He founded the Chicago Support Group (currently The Chi-town Ataxia Friend Ship), and also runs The Fight Ataxia Project - a non-profit organization that spreads ataxia education and awareness.

Through running the support group, hosting fundraisers like the yearly ''Walk This Way', organizing various Townhall events, and working with NAF and CAFA, he continues to advocate and offer support and hope to all ataxians, proving that there can be life with ataxia.

Michelle Gail DiCiantis is a former nurse and healthcare professional living with ataxia, among other debillitating conditions. Currently a volunteer at
The DO Foundation in Detroit, she is also an advocate and strong believer in the use of medical marijuana.

At the recent NAF conference in Detroit, she was intrigued, as were many, by a new assistive device available through Motion Therapeutics called the Balancewear weighted vest. A test fitting proved to produce some astounding results for many that tried it. She'll give us real life insight as to how it is helping her.


Roger Fong, is a physical therapist for the University of Chicago Hospitals. He received his bachelor degree from Boston University and his Masters in Physical Therapy from Midwestern University. As a physical therapist in the Ataxia Center Roger provides on-site evaluation and education to patients appropriate for physical therapy. Roger's approach in therapy is to work with the patient within a multidisciplinary format in order to optimize the patient's functional outcome and needs. He also performs screening for other rehab needs such as on going outpatient physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, orthotics, wheelchair and seated mobility, and home care.