NBC News Center Maine: Walking to help fight Huntington's Disease
ELLSWORTH, Maine — Sunday morning at Ellsworth High School, people walked to support those battling Huntington's disease. The Huntington's Disease Society of America hosts the Maine fundraiser "Hope Walk" each year.
This year, the walk honored Nate Brochu, who passed away this past summer at the age of 28. He was diagnosed with Huntington's disease when he was a teenager.
Huntington's disease is a genetic disorder in the brain which currently has no cure. The goal of the walk is to help raise money to fight the disease. All of the donations go straight to HDSA.
"The money all goes to the national organization first, because this is a national fundraiser, and then it funnels back to us for our needs; we get education, support group, social worker," said Nancy Patterson, the Maine Chair for HDSA.
Huntington's Disease is a genetic neurological disorder, in which nerve cells in the brain break down over time.
"About 10% of the people who have Huntington's are juveniles, and that's people who get it before they were 20 years old... the symptoms are more severe and there's a shorter life span," said Patterson.
The Huntington's Disease Society of America holds the fundraiser walk to support those who live with the disease, including funding more research for potential treatment options in the future.
On Sunday, Lori Wilcox from Harmony walked with her family to support her brother DJ, who is battling Huntington's disease.
"It's hard to watch the changes, it's not easy, it's frustrating because you want to take it away from him, you want to help him but there is nothing you can do but just be there, be his voice, and I'm going to fight for him!" said Wilcox.
Wilcox shared that DJ ended up homeless in New Hampshire, but she picked him up and is taking care of him.
"He had erratic behavior, he was running away a lot from his home," said Wilcox. "I'm his voice, and I will fight for him till there is no fight left in me. He's an amazing young man!" she said.
Lori Wilcox will be taking DJ to Boston in a few weeks for some sessions with a doctor who specializes in Huntington's.
"He's my little brother, and I love him more than life, and I would do anything for him!" said Wilcox.