GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

May 9, 2013

Rockport woman organizing walk to fight Huntington’s disease

By Times Staff
Gloucester Daily Times

---- — ROCKPORT — The money raised by a walk being held this weekend will be used to fight a disease that robs people of their mobility as well as their ability to think, talk and reason.

May is Huntington’s Disease Awareness month and Rockport resident Trish Dunton has organized this Saturday’s three-mile walk to raise money for a cure for HD.

“I have a family friend who has Huntington’s and there are several people in Rockport that have this disease,” Dunton said, who has participated in other charity walks. “This is the first year I’ve organized this event, and I’m not sure what to expect. But the more people are aware, the more money we can raise, and the faster a cure can be found.”

The Team Hope Walk kicks off at 9 a.m. from the Back Beach Bandstand, 32 Beach St., rain or shine, Dunton said. Walkers may register in advance at http://www.hdsa.org/thwrockport or the day of the event at the bandstand beginning at 8 a.m.

Dunton says some walkers have already registered and started collecting pledges.

The first walkers should complete the circular route and cross the bandstand finish line around 10 a.m. The public is urged to welcome walkers at the finish-line activities.

There is presently no cure and only one FDA-approved treatment for symptoms of Huntington’s disease. Symptoms usually appear in individuals between the ages of 30 and 50 years and progress degenerately. Cases of juvenile HD have been diagnosed in children as young as 2 years of age. More than 30,000 people in the United States are currently diagnosed with HD. Each of their siblings and children has a 50 percent risk of developing the disease, therefore 250,000 are at risk. Although medications can relieve some symptoms in certain individuals, research has yet to find a means of conquering or even slowing the deadly progression of HD.

Money raised at the walk will support Huntington’s Disease Society of America’s Programs of Care, Research and Education to improve the lives of everyone affected by Huntington’s sisease.

Founded in 1968 by Marjorie Guthrie, wife of folk legend Woody Guthrie who lost his battle with HD, the society works to provide family services, education, advocacy and research to help those diagnosed with or at risk for the disease.

If you go What: Three-mile walk-a-thon with refreshments, music, and raffles to fund a cure for Huntington's disease. Where: Back Beach Bandstand, 32 Beach St., Rockport. When: Saturday, May 11; 8 a.m. registration, 9 a.m. walk begins How: Register/raise funds online at http://www.hdsa.org/thwrockport or contact vgoolkasian@hdsa.org to have forms sent via email or mail.