Break down barriers with the new Friends of Ataxia UK ID card

“When entering a Sainsbury’s, I staggered into a pile of baskets, and the watching security guard raised his eyebrows with a knowing look. I stammered, 'it’s okay I’m not drunk, but I have ataxia,' to which he responded laconically, 'whatever floats your boat mate.' So embarrassed.” 

- Friend of Ataxia UK

“It is hard to go to a bar and order alcohol when people can’t understand you and assume you’ve had one too many already. My speech gets worse during the day and it’s easier not to drink.”

- Nigel

This summer, between 1 July – 11 August you can help us purchase an ID card printing machine to create ID cards for Friends of Ataxia UK. These cards will explain their condition, needs and medical information, and reduce the number of misunderstandings they face.


Thousands of people living with ataxia are often mistaken for being drunk. In the initial stages of the condition, people's walking and speech are affected, making them stumble and slur. Consequentially, they're often denied access to public places because of drunk and disorderly behaviour.

This lack of ataxia awareness in the UK has an astonishing impact on people living the condition. Their confidence, self-esteem and willingness to socialise is constantly challenged. Even the ability to leave the house, go abroad or drive a car without being mistakenly arrested for being under the influence can go out of the window.

All because the general public don’t understand their symptoms.

 Our new ID card

If more people are aware of ataxia, more money is likely to be invested into finding a cure. Equally, increased awareness will mean fewer instances of misunderstandings for the lives of those affected by the condition.

We plan to make an ID card for all our Friends who live with the condition, enabling easier communicate about ataxia with members of the general public and their healthcare professionals.

What could be featured on the card?

  • NHS no.
  • Brief description of ataxia type
  • Full name
  • DOB
  • Allergies

Friends of Ataxia UK ID cards will be conveniently shaped to fit inside a wallet and to make sure the cards are effective they will cover the range of symptoms associated with your ataxia, as well as important contact information in cases of emergency.

The card will play a vital role in explaining the symptoms of ataxia to the general public and erase any misunderstandings people with ataxia may face.

Donate today by clicking on the blue button to the right and help break down these barriers. Donate today and help create a safer, happier ataxia community.