Gerleine Schoonover started volunteering with the Huntington'sDisease Society of America back in 1972. She lost her husband to the disease in 1977. Her son died in 2007 and her daughter is in a nursing home also with HD.
HD is a hereditary, degenerative brain disorder. There is no cure. HD affects the person's ability to walk, think, talk and reason. It often begins inmid-life.
It's estimated 1 in 20,000 people in the U.S. have HD. Right now, about 30,000 Americans have been diagnosed with HD. Symptoms include depression, irritability, anxiety, personality changes and mood swings.
Right now members are encouraging lawmakers to pass the Huntington's Disease Parity Act of 2009. H.R. 678 would require the Commissioner of Social Security to revise the medical criteria for evaluating disability in a person diagnosed with Huntington's Disease and to waive the 24-month waiting period for Medicare eligibility for individuals disabled by HD.
For 38 years Gerleine has talked about HD and she plans to keep educating the public about this devastating disease.
Gerleine'spersonal quote: Live your life the best you can, don't let HD steal from you before it's time.
On September 11, 2010, the Huntington's Disease Society of America will have its 5th Annual San Antonio Team Hope Walk at Woodlawn Park.Team Hope takes place in 50 cities across America. Team Hope has raised more than $1 million to fight HD.