The first time I saw a family with HD, in 1985, I was a neurology resident with an interest in genetics, and HD seemed to be an interesting neurologic-genetic disease.  I had no idea, then, that I would spend my professional lifetime immersed in the disease—caring for the amazing HD families of the Upper Midwest, working on clinical trials to develop new drugs, writing articles and books and pamphlets, and speaking around the world to students, patients, families, doctors, and researchers about the disease.  I am humbled by the strength and resilience of my families, and privileged to walk alongside them to learn more about the disease and share what I know. 

As the years have passed, I have been pleased to see my patients’ children grow up to be wonderful people, but sometimes saddened to see those children, or their children, as patients.  The most unique aspect of HD, compared to every other condition that a neurologist sees, is that it is truly a family disease, in every meaning of the phrase.  It is the heartache, but it is also the strength.  If we help our children to understand and be at peace with HD, even as we wait impatiently for the cure, we can harness their energy—on a global scale, in the internet era!—to fight harder!

I am proud to be part of the HD family. 

The picture shows me doing something else I am proud of—turning seeds and dirt into food!  Just ask the Minneapolis support group about Dr. Nance’s annual September Farmer’s Market and HD Support Group Lecture! 


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