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By Matthew Santamaria (msantamaria@hdsa.org)

Two sisters want to make a difference in this world. They know the chances but Morgan and Jodi Vallimont don’t care.

When their grandmother was in her 60’s, she was diagnosed with Huntington’s disease (HD). This is a fatal genetic disorder that causes the progressive breakdown of nerve cells in the brain. It deteriorates a person’s physical and mental abilities during their prime working years and has no cure.

The sisters would later found out that her grandmother's parents both had HD but it was not diagnosed during their lifetime. Each child of a parent with HD has a 50/50 chance of inheriting the faulty gene that causes Huntington’s disease. Today, there are approximately 30,000 symptomatic Americans and more than 200,000 at-risk of inheriting the disease.

“Instead of letting HD defeat her, she became active in HDSA,” Morgan explains. “She started a local support group and also coordinated Team Hope Walks in Pennsylvania. She wanted to help support others with HD and help HDSA continue the search for a cure.”

The Team Hope Walk program is HDSA’s signature grassroots fundraising campaign that is designed to provide hope and support for those affected by the disease. Since the program’s inception in 2007, it has occurred in over 100 different cities.

Unfortunately, last year, she was unable to coordinate a Team Hope Walk near Morgan and Jodi. The Vallimont sisters live in Manassas, Virginia.

“When we heard this, my sister and I decided to coordinate a Team Hope Walk near us,” said Morgan. “We want to continue what our grandma started by raising awareness of HD and supporting the work of HDSA.”

Currently, Morgan and Jodi attend James Madison University and are gearing up for the Manassas Team Hope Walk and 5K Run. It will take place on Saturday June 8th at the Harris Pavilion from 7:30 AM – 11:00 AM.

For more information about the event, click here

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Huntington’s disease is a fatal genetic disorder that causes the progressive breakdown of nerve cells in the brain. It deteriorates a person’s physical and mental abilities during their prime working years and has no cure. Each child of a parent with HD has a 50/50 chance of inheriting the faulty gene that causes Huntington’s disease. Today, there are approximately 30,000 symptomatic Americans and more than 200,000 at-risk of inheriting the disease. The symptoms of Huntington’s disease are described as having ALS, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s – simultaneously.

The Huntington’s Disease Society of America is the premier nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of everyone affected by HD. From community services and education to advocacy and research, HDSA is the world’s leader in providing help for today and hope for tomorrow for people with HD and their families.

​To learn more about Huntington’s disease and the work of the Huntington’s Disease Society of America, visit www.HDSA.org or call 1(800)345-HDSA.

This is a story featuring a personal experience with Huntington’s disease. If you would like to have your story told please contact Matthew Santamaria at msantamaria@hdsa.org.