My name is Laura Petruzzi and I am 36 years old. I lost my mother, Paula King, to Huntington's Disease in 2003. This devastating disease has now taken the lives of my grandfather, all nine of his brothers. Now my brother, Steve, and I have tested positive and we still have many more family members at risk.
What is Huntington's Disease
Huntington's Disease (HD) is a devastating, hereditary, degenerative brain disorder for which there is, at present, no effective treatment or cure. HD slowly diminishes the affected individual's ability to walk, talk and reason. Eventually, the person with HD becomes totally dependent upon others for his or her care. Huntington's Disease profoundly affects the lives of entire families -- emotionally, socially and economically.
HD is now recognized as one of the more common genetic disorders with more than a quarter of a million Americans having HD or are "at risk" of inheriting the disease from an affected parent. HD affects as many people as Hemophilia, Cystic Fibrosis or muscular dystrophy. HD typically begins in mid-life, between the ages of 30 and 50, though onset may occur as early as the age of 2. Children who develop the juvenile form of the disease rarely live to adulthood. The average lifespan after onset of HD is 10-20 years. The younger the age of onset, the more rapid the progression of the disease. Each child of a person with HD has a 50/50 chance of inheriting the fatal gene. Everyone who carries the gene will develop the disease. In 1993, the HD gene was isolated and a direct genetic test developed which can accurately determine whether a person carries the HD gene. The test cannot predict when symptoms will begin. Research efforts are currently exploring many new avenues and approaches including focus on way to delay onset of HD, development of effective therapies that may slow the progression of HD and ultimately, a cure for the disease.
For a more in depth look at HD, please view the video of the CBS Special on Huntington's Disease located on the left side of the page.
Join Our Cause
On September 25, 2010 in Boca Raton, Florida we will be holding a twilight walk to help raise awareness and funds to help in the fight against HD. You can help by sponsoring our event, joining in our walk or donating through this site. 100% of your donations will go towards research to help find a cure and your transactions will be safe and secure.
Thank you in advance for your support and don't forget to forward this to anyone you know. By helping each other, a cure might be closer then we think!