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By Matthew Santamaria (msantamaria@hdsa.org)

At this year’s Chico California Team Hope Walk, Debra Hobbs will volunteer at the walk for the first time with HDSA’s Pacific Region. Since 2007, Team Hope Walk have occurred in over 100 cities and is a fundraising campaign designed to provide hope and support for those affected by Huntington’s disease (HD).

This is a fatal genetic disorder that causes the progressive breakdown of nerve cells in the brain. It deteriorates a person’s physical and mental abilities during their prime working years and has no cure.

“This is my first time ever doing something like this, and I will do my best,” said Debra. “I have only been to one other walk and I really enjoyed it. To me it brought everyone together and it educated the ones who didn't know about HD.”

Her story began in 2009 when her husband was diagnosed with HD. She has been with him for over 36 years and has stayed by his side through thick and thin. Today, there are approximately 30,000 symptomatic Americans and more than 200,000 at-risk of inheriting the disease.

“He went into a deep depression and then he lost his job,” Debra explains. “We lost our home a few years later, because of bad judgement on his part due to HD.”

They would pull through the hard times and settled into their new lives. As the disease progressed, she would eventually become his caretaker.

Debra and her husband lived their entire life in Chico which includes starting a business there. She wanted to give back to the community as she considered them family.

“I feel that people need to know about HD, and what it does to our loved ones,” said Debra. “My family is being torn apart because of this disease. HD has taken the love of my life away from me. So we need to bring awareness and raise money to find a cure.”

HDSA’s Pacific Region will be hosting the Chico California Team Hope Walk on May 11th from 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM at Cedar Grove Park. For more information, click here.

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Huntington’s disease is a fatal genetic disorder that causes the progressive breakdown of nerve cells in the brain. It deteriorates a person’s physical and mental abilities during their prime working years and has no cure. Each child of a parent with HD has a 50/50 chance of inheriting the faulty gene that causes Huntington’s disease. Today, there are approximately 30,000 symptomatic Americans and more than 200,000 at-risk of inheriting the disease. The symptoms of Huntington’s disease are described as having ALS, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s – simultaneously.

The Huntington’s Disease Society of America is the premier nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of everyone affected by HD. From community services and education to advocacy and research, HDSA is the world’s leader in providing help for today and hope for tomorrow for people with HD and their families.

​To learn more about Huntington’s disease and the work of the Huntington’s Disease Society of America, visit www.HDSA.org or call 1(800)345-HDSA.

This is a story featuring a personal experience with Huntington’s disease. If you would like to have your story told please contact Matthew Santamaria at msantamaria@hdsa.org.