Meet Erika

Erika Bjorklund

Washington

 
Many of our stories are similar but they all seem to have a unique twist. My symptomatic father took his life when I was 11 years old. Realizing how precious family is, my sister and I became very close. I chose Huntington's Disease for my eighth grade cultural fair project and explained to people that I had a 50/50 chance of getting the disease. Eight years later we found out that my only sister Melissa has the gene expansion and I don't. I never really felt guilty; I knew there was nothing I could do about our gene status. When she started showing symptoms just a few short years later -10 years earlier than expected - I knew there had to be something to make this seemingly helpless situation less scary and devastating. Taking action and learning as much as I can is how I cope with knowing my sister and so many amazing friends I have met will be impacted by this disease. The knowledge I have gained and the people I have met who are working tirelessly to find more effective treatments give me hope. There is nothing that I want more than for my sister and other people dealing with this disease to have a better quality of life. Even though you may feel helpless there is always something that can be done.