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Generations of a family diagnosed with Huntington’s Disease: Local mother running for a cure

LAKEVIEW, Mich-- Huntington's Disease is a fatal genetic disorder that causes the progressive breakdown of nerve cells in the brain, with symptoms like personality changes, forgetfulness and slurred speech.

Currently, more than 200,000 people in America are at-risk for inheriting the disease.

In Montcalm County, several generations of the Shurlow family have been diagnosed with the condition, which currently has no cure.

"My husband's mom had it and they're pretty sure her mother had it but she was never tested," says Gail Shurlow. "Each child of an affected person has 50% chance of inheriting it."

Currently, one of Gail and Don Shurlow's children has tested positive for the disease.

The condition is one that's been on the family's mind recently, especially since their daughter got married in September.

"My daughter just got married September 16th in what was also her dad's birthday, so it was a very special day," says Shurlow.

Because of his condition, Gail's husband, Don didn't get to walk his daughter down the aisle. He did however, get to have a special moment with his little girl before she said 'I do'.

"It was a first look before the wedding, it was very touching and they just had a moment together for the photo and it turned out really great," says Shurlow.  "With the Huntington's over the last year my husband's ability to walk and move around has declined greatly."

As the Shurlow family continues to deal with the effects of Huntington's Disease, Gail Shurlow is hoping to raise money and awareness for the condition by running in the New York City Marathon this November.

"I've never been to New York City, so yes I'm going to run the New York City Marathon and can't wait I'm very excited," says Shurlow.

Shurlow's original goal was to raise $3,500 for the cause, but when the Lakeview Community Wellness Center heard about Gail was doing, they decided to get involved.

"August 20th they had a pig roast benefit and over $6,200 was raised to help me get way over my goal," says Shurlow.

To date, Gail Shurlow has raised more than $11,000 to fund research to find a cure.

If you'd like to donate, you can visit her fundraising page.

 

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