COEUR d’ALENE — Huntington's disease is like having Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) all at the same time.
It steals its victims' mental and physical abilities in the prime of their lives. It's fatal and it has no cure.
"It's a debilitating disease that involves Parkinson's, dementia and chorea (an involuntary movement disorder), among others, and is serious and genetic," said Zane Graser, whose dad has HD. "People with chorea have body movements that are jerky, and law enforcement and people would think they are drunk or on drugs."
Graser and others affected by this unforgiving disease are working to raise funds to find a cure. Graser is directing the Team Hope Walk 5K and 10K in Riverstone on Saturday to generate awareness and support for the HD community. He said they're aiming to raise $15,000 to put toward a cure.
"The goal is to educate people of the disease and to help with the fight against the disease," he said. "We have a support group that meets monthly for anybody affected by HD in the family for those that would like a support group to be a part of. Many are not aware of this offering."
Nila McCuaig, whose husband has HD, said it's not a common disease, but the Inland Northwest has about 100 cases, and probably more.
"There are a lot of HD families that won't talk about it because they're afraid of discrimination," she said. "Our family is open to talking about it, but a lot of families are not. There are probably more families struggling in the area, but they're hidden.
"It's like the worst disease known to man," she continued. "You see your parent die from it, you're at risk for it and you see your siblings die from it."
The local Huntington's Disease Society of America Team Hope Walk begins at 10 a.m. at Foundation Fitness, 1950 Bellerive Lane, Suite 106-A, Coeur d'Alene. Registration is $25 per person and begins at 9:15 a.m. Runners and participants will not be timed.
Support group info: http://washington.hdsa.org/about/wa-support-groups
Event info: http://bit.ly/2pQWJIZ