NBC WLBT News: Large crowd gathers for Huntington’s Disease walk in Brandon
By Quentin Smith
BRANDON, Miss. (WLBT) - One step at a time. That’s how many people tackle life’s biggest challenges.
It’s also how Heather Thurgood-Wilmoth is hoping to shine a light on Huntington’s Disease. It’s a rare and genetic disease her husband Nathan is battling.
“Nathan got his diagnosis on April 15, of 2016, but looking back, we can see where he was showing signs and symptoms of the disease beforehand,” said Wilmoth. “It’s like having ALS Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s all at the same time.”
Wilmoth admits it’s been a long journey battling through the disease.
“Right now, we’re trying to sell our house so we can find something more accommodating for Nathan because it’s harder for him to get around our home, and you just don’t think about that kind of thing when you don’t have an illness in your family,” Wilmoth expressed.
That’s why she spent her Saturday walking for Nathan and the many others battling with this disorder.
A large crowd gathered for the walk in Brandon, and it was the first time a Huntington’s Disease walk had been put on in Mississippi.
“There are about 200 families in Mississippi dealing with Huntington’s (disease),” said Wilmoth.
As of right now, there’s no cure for Huntington’s disease, but there are some symptoms that can be treated.
“It’s a brain disorder. It’s hereditary,” said Dr. Juebin Huang, Huntington’s Disease Clinical Director at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. “It typically starts around middle age, 30-40 years old. Usually, they start with a little bit clumsy, a little bit of fidgeting movement, and also speech problems, and balance problems. As the disease progresses, that can have memory and thinking problems.”
Dr. Huang said the earlier people go to the doctors after experiencing these symptoms, the better they’ll be able to survive the disease.
Meanwhile, Wilmoth said she and her husband will continue with their fight in hopes of finding a cure sooner rather than later.
“It’s just really important to get that awareness out so we can get that research and get that funding to hopefully get that treatment or a cure because, like I said, it’s a terminal disease, and we want our loved ones with us,” said Wilmoth.
“We have a lot of research going on,” said Dr. Huang. “There’s a lot of hope on the horizon. I think we will eventually find a cure.”
The Huntington’s Disease Society of America put on Saturday’s Team Hope Walk.
Wilmoth said they were able to raise more than $11,000. That money will go towards finding treatment and a cure for Huntington’s Disease.