At 13, Joey Mullaney, Quinnipiac ’17, found out he has Friedreich’s ataxia (FA), a rare degenerative disorder that affects coordination, mobility, speech and organ function. The diagnosis has presented its challenges, but Mullaney hasn’t allowed the hereditary condition to keep him from pursuing his goals.
High on his list was attending college. Because he uses a motorized scooter, Mullaney knew finding a campus he could navigate without much difficulty was as important as academics when choosing a university. What he didn’t know when he decided to attend Quinnipiac was that he’d also find a circle of amazing friends and be welcomed into the SigEp brotherhood.
Mullaney was friends with a brother who suggested he attend a SigEp recruitment event. The “camaraderie reminded me of how close I was to all my teammates growing up,” Mullaney shared in his memoir, “Stare At Me.” He added, “I had not realized how much I loved and missed that bond.”
Other anecdotes about his time in the chapter are contained in the book, which recounts Mullaney’s childhood growing up as one of four children in an athletic family in Leominster, Massachusetts, and how he’s embraced life since his diagnosis.
All of his endeavors — in addition to writing the book, he runs a blog, is a public speaker and maintains sound body as an adaptive CrossFit athlete — serve to show others that, even with a disability, there’s much to look forward to in life.
“I am on a mission to make the most out of the time I have and motivate others to do the same,” he said.