ABC 13 On Your Side: West Michigan Team Hope Walk in Holland raises money for HD
HOLLAND, Mich. — The ninth annual West Michigan Team Hope Walk in Holland took place Saturday morning.
This grassroots fundraising event’s goal is to increase awareness about Huntington's disease.
Nearly 10 years ago Ashley Greenway took a test that would forever change her life.
“I tested positive for the Huntington's disease gene, nine and a half years ago. And it was an excruciating testing process they made you jump through all sorts of hoops. At one point, I had to see a psychologist to make sure that I could handle knowing the results," Greenway said.
Huntington’s disease is a fatal genetic disorder that causes the progressive breakdown of nerve cells in the brain.
“The best way to describe it is a mix between ALS, Parkinson's, or Alzheimer's and brain cancer. It's having all of that kind of simultaneously," Greenway said.
While there is treatment for the symptoms of Huntington's disease, there is no cure.
Every child of a parent with it has a 50-50 chance of getting it, a fear Ashley lives with every day.
“I don't have any symptoms, thankfully, with my family symptoms typically come on later in life. So my estimated age of onset is about 65. I do know of a few people through being involved in this community that is in their 30s that are showing symptoms," Greenway said.
She decided to do something more than just waiting for the disease to take hold.
She got involved with the Huntington's Disease Society of America.
“That's a really weird position to be in to be diagnosed with a terminal disease and has other people come to me and be like, I'm so sorry. You know, I can't believe what you're going through, I can't imagine. And it's like, well, what can I do except to be involved and to spread awareness," Greenway said.
You to can make a difference by attending or donating to West Michigan's Team Hope Walk.
Last year’s virtual event forced people to get creative.
“I ended up collecting pop cans, and I raised $10,000 collecting pop cans from the community here in West Michigan," Greenway said.
With about 41,000 symptomatic Americans and 200,000 at-risk of inheriting the disease, every little bit helps in the fight against Huntington's disease.