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Dozens gather for Team Hope Walk, raise awareness for Huntington’s disease

It’s a genetic disorder that causes the progressive breakdown of nerve cells in the brain.
HDSA  Maine Team Hope Walk
HDSA Maine Team Hope Walk(WABI)
Published: Oct. 17, 2021 at 5:37 PM EDT
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ELLSWORTH, Maine (WABI) - Roughly 75 people gathered in Ellsworth Sunday to take part in the Huntington’s Disease Society of America’s largest national grassroots fundraising event.

”Nate Brochu who had juvenile Huntington’s and he passed this summer. We’re also honoring my sister, we’re honoring some people who have Huntington’s, Victoria Mekras who was here with her family today,” said Nancy Patterson, chair of the Maine affiliate of HDSA.

Those are just a few of the people honored Sunday in Ellsworth at the Team Hope Walk.

It’s a nationwide event that brings awareness to Huntington’s disease.

It’s a genetic disorder that causes the progressive breakdown of nerve cells in the brain.

It deteriorates a person’s mental and physical abilities and currently has no cure.

“It can last 10 to 20 years. Every child of a parent who has Huntington’s has a 50/50 chance of inheriting the gene mutation,” Patterson said.

Nancy Patterson saw how it affected four generations of her own family and has been working with the Huntington’s Disease Society of America for the last 12 years.

“There are people who have it in one family, grandparent, parent, children and then you’re going across, siblings, cousins,” Patterson said. “Our big hope is for a cure and there are many clinical trials going on right now.”

For siblings Jane Campbell Brann and James Campbell Sunday’s walk was about remembering their family members who had the disease and died by suicide.

“The awareness seems a little more now, I don’t know what the exact percentage is affecting the community but when it’s in your family it means a lot,” Campbell said.

“We just need people to know it exists and help us find a cure,” Brann said.

Friends and family members at the walk say having a support system is what’s getting them through these difficult times.

“The rain is like a metaphor for what we go through all the time, we have to do everything in that kind of rain, but the sun also comes out like it did today and the bond is so strong. It’s a disease that’s not very well understood but we here understand it. We understand what everybody’s going through,” Patterson said.

For more information you can head to maine.hdsa.org.

You can participate in the auction until November 17th.

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