Vanessa Johnson's Walk for Huntington's Disease
5 years ago I lost my mother, Letty. She suffered from Huntington's Disease my entire Life. Because of this disease, my mother was hospitalized when I was very young and I always wondered if I had the same disease. I still wonder but I know that I am in God's hands regardless of the outcome. I just turned 44 this year....they say I am at the age of onset...my truth is that I don't know, only God does. I have passed all psychologicals to have the test to determine if I have the gene, but I have chosen to not take the test. I am okay knowing that today, by the Grace of God, I am alive and well. The same year my mother passed away, my brother Joey, was diagnosed with Huntington's. My life has been affected by this disease in every way. I understand what it is to see helplessness and hopelessness first hand. My wish is that there is Hope and Help everywhere and I would like to think that with enough money we can find a cure for this terrible disease! I refuse to be a victim in this fight...I am grateful this disease has caused me to be the Resilient, Faithful and Hopeful person that I am today.
In my family photo, 7 out of 10 people have a 50/50 chance of getting this disease. We are one family.... Brothers. Sisters, Nephews and Nieces. My brother, Joey is top row in the middle, he was diagnosed in 2007. This disease is cruel but it is not my Legacy.
What is Huntington's Disease? Huntington's Disease (HD) is a genetic, progressively fatal disease that results in "degeneration of brain cells", specifically nerve cells. This causes uncontrolled movements ( i.e. jerking arms/legs), aggressive/emotional disturbances (i.e. depression, bursts of anger and aggression), and loss of cognitive abilities (i.e. trouble driving, learning new things, making a decision, etc.). An estimated 250,000 people in the United States are affected in some way by this disease. A person with HD has a 50/50 chance of passing this disease on to his/her offspring. It has been described as a combination of "Parkinsons, Lou Gerigs, and Alzheimer's at the same time" .As of right now, there is no cure; there's not even a specific treatment, though research has come a long way and we're hoping to find a cure soon!
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