Huntington's Disease Society of America
Our family has dealt with Huntington's for many years and generations. Our grandfather Cecil Owens was a Medic in the U.S. Army for 9 years. He was a missionary to Alaska for 7 years with his four girls and wife. He helped raise his family and continued doing God's work as a missionary for most of his life. During the late 60's he started showing symptoms of Huntington's. Unfortunately there wasn't much known about Huntington's at the time and very little that could be done to even help cope with the symptoms of the disease. Cecil was placed in a Ft. Lyons Colorado long term care facility in 1972. He was there from 1972 thru 1985 when he passed away. Leaving each of his 4 daughters with the 50/50 chance they might have it and pass it on to their families.
As it turned out Janet Owens-Resler was the first of the four girls to show symptoms of the disease. Janet was born July 2, 1953, she was a wife and a mother to 3 young children April, Holly, and Benjamin. She also participated in the church choir every Sunday, playing the organ and the piano, she also played the accordion for local nursing homes and during mission trips in Alaska. As her symptoms started getting worse it came a point where she could no longer care for her family. On November 1, 1995, at the age of 42, she was placed into a nursing home that could better care for her needs. At first Janet was in a nursing facility in Lawton, Oklahoma; but when the facility could no longer care for her demanding needs Janet was moved to a nursing home in Norman, Oklahoma until her passing on March 3, 2006. She was only 53 years old.
As for today, there is another daughter that is dealing with the affects of Huntington's. Jaunita has two grown children and two granddaughters, she is active in church, and loves to plant flowers in the summer. Right now, she is in the middle stages of Huntington's and her primary caregiver is her mother. Our grandmother has been there through her husband's battle, her first daughter's battle, and now her other daughter's battle.
Today, some of our family is still in limbo. Janet's three children have not shown any signs or symptoms of Huntington's. Each child, April, Holly, and Benjamin has a child or children of their own. Each child of Janet's children still has a 50% chance of having Huntington's later on in life, As for Jaunita's family, at this time neither of the two children have shown signs or symptoms of Huntington's either. But again each of the children still have a 50% chance of getting the disease later in life, only time will tell. If any of the children in Janet's or Jaunita's families do have the disease each of their children will have a 50% chance of having the disease as well. The best case scenario is that none of the children show signs or symptoms of Huntington's and the chain of Huntington's will end there. If this best case scenario comes true then their children are safe from the disease and will not have to worry about it in the future.
Today Benjamin is the co chair for HDSA's southwest Oklahoma Affiliate and a HD advocate.
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