When I was growing up, I assumed my mother’s behavior was from stress, anxiety, and from her deepening depression. I hated her, and couldn’t wait to move out of her home. However, by the time I reached high school, I started realizing that she was showing symptoms of HD, and I became very paranoid about my future. You see, my mother’s father was killed when he was in his early thirties, before he showed any symptoms, and we were blindsided by her worsening condition.

My name is Anthony Martinez. I’m the goofy guy in the mortarboard and gown. Also in the image are my beautiful mother, Kathleen Eannotti, and my younger brother, Justin. I graduated from Fairfield University with a B.S. in chemistry, and I am currently pursuing a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, in chemistry. I decided early on that I was not going to sit by and wait for the disease to take my mother and her sister, Lynn, or any of my family currently at risk. I am 24 years old, and I am my mother’s legal guardian. My family, like many families of HD, has struggled for years to help my mother, with little outside support. I applaud all the efforts that HDSA and its affiliates have made in widening awareness and advocating for policy changes that help families suffering from this horrible disease.

It is absolutely necessary for our community to always stick together, and to work collaboratively to push initiatives. To that end, I greatly encourage anyone in the HD community, especially anyone here in Chicago so that we can continue to foster more cooperation between ourselves, and make sure that no family will ever again struggle to find support.

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