Spectrum News One: Huntington's disease: One family's journey
By Amy Elliott
RALEIGH, N.C. — The Huntington's Disease Society of America recently held a large fundraiser in hopes of raising money for continued research.
Huntington’s disease, also known as HD, is passed down in families and affects the brain causing physical, mental and emotional decline. Most often, a diagnosis will occur between the ages of 30 and 50.
There is currently no cure.
Tracey Vajay will tell you one of her greatest joys is her family — her husband and two sons.
But the 45-year-old also acknowledges the last several years have been a challenge due to Huntington’s disease.
“I was like, I’m having a hard time walking down the hallway and I’m really struggling to keep a straight line, so it’s like one of those things in the back of your head that you kind of know that it’s there but it’s still something that you are going to kind of hope it is not going to be there," Vajay said.
Her diagnosis wasn’t a total surprise, she says.
Her dad was also diagnosed with Huntington’s disease and died when he was 50.
The Huntington's Disease Society of America says every child of a parent with the disease has a 50% chance of inheriting the gene.
“In your head you are like, well I had to go through that with my father so it is kinda hard to see yourself in his shoes," Vajay explained.
Vajay’s symptoms didn’t start until she was 40. She now has a harder time remembering things and deals with chorea, which is a movement disorder.
“It’s unnatural," she explained. "Your body moves and you are not necessarily moving your hands or your feet."
Her family surrounds her, giving her help physically and emotionally whenever she needs it.
"It’s a battle, but one I’m willing to take for them," Vajay said.