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

"When my best friend Judy turned 40, I organised for a group of friends to fly to New York. As the plane was ready to take off, three members of security approached me.

“Madam, we’d like to escort you off the plane,” the manager said. “We think you’ve had too much to drink.”

“Honestly, I haven’t had a drop,” I protested. I wanted the plane to swallow me up.

 - Judy

“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 support our purchase of an ID card printing machine. This will produce ID cards for Friends of Ataxia UK to explain their condition, and reduce the number of misunderstandings they face.


Thousands of people living with ataxia are often mistaken for being drunk because the symptoms appear similar. In the initial stages, someone with ataxia can stumble and slur their speech. Consequentially, they're sometimes denied access to public places because they’re accused of being drunk.

The 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 drunk and disorderly can go out of the window.

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

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.

Our new ID card

Ataxia UK is committed to changing this for the better.

The ID card will mean people living with ataxia and their families can communicate about their condition more easily with members of the general public, as well as inform healthcare professionals of the issues that affect their communication and/or mobility.

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.

Donate today and help break down these barriers by making a gift towards the purchase of a brand new Friends of Ataxia UK ID card.

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 and help us create a safer, happier ataxia community.