My name is Rick Durkee.  Most of you know me.  My story follows.  About nine years ago, I met a woman named Debbie.  During the time of getting to know each other, she asked me if I knew anything about Huntington's Disease.  She asked because I am a retired Army medic.  I told her that I did not, but I would research it.  My research led me to HDSA website.  After a few months of further research, she told me that her dad died from it.  Her older sister and niece have it.  She has gone through some periods of "Why not me?".  Her sister is in the later stages of this disease.  We are getting married in July, with a honeymoon in Maine (her home).  We are both praying for sister to still be with us.  My involvement with HDSA is one of advocacy.  I work a really odd schedule.  I am a Correctional Officer with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.  I write letters to our Congressional leaders supporting the bills currently involved with HD and Rare Disease Acts.  I am proud to say that John Carter (District 31, Texas) has signed on as a cosponsor.  Last October, I attended my first HD seminar in Houston.  I spoke on advocacy and its importance.  I want to thank Jane for asking me to do this.  The event really opened my eyes.  I look forward to working toward getting the HD Parity Act signed into law.

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