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By Maria Lisignoli, Multimedia Journalist
ANKENY, Iowa -- People aren’t just shooting hoops down at Wells Fargo Arena this weekend. Dozens of people gathered in Ankeny Saturday to make free throws in hopes of finding a cure for Huntington’s disease.
“Huntington’s disease is a progressive fatal, genetic disorder that causes your mind and your body to deteriorate at a pretty rapid pace,” said Andrea Bauer, Iowa Chapter president of the Huntington’s Disease Society of America.
Many compare the disease to having a combination of ALS, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s because you have symptoms of all three diseases at once.
Anybody whose parents have Huntington’s disease also have a 50 percent chance of getting the disease themselves.
Saturday was the last Hoop-a-Thon event of the year. The previous two raised more than $20,000 for the University of Iowa’s specialized Huntington’s disease center.
Around 300 families in Iowa are affected by Huntington’s disease, including Kevin Wesack, who lost his ability to drive. The Wesack family is grateful for the support from the Iowa Chapter because it sometimes takes a team to get through day-to-day life.
“It takes a lot. We have so many people, neighbors, family members, depending on what the kids have going on and Kevin’s doctor’s appointments. There’s some days where I need two or three people to just help run people around,” said Lori Wesack, a board member for the Huntington’s Disease Society of America Iowa Chapter.
There is research going into silencing the gene that causes symptoms. That is why Iowa’s Huntington’s disease chapter is continuing to raise money. On May 4 in Clive, there will be 5K and 10K runs to raise funds and awareness for the disease.