LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Sarah Gardner’s father passed away from Huntington’s disease in 2015, but her battle surrounding the disease continues.
Gardner says she is making it her mission to spread awareness of the genetic disease — which has no cure — and offer support for those dealing with it.
Huntington’s disease is a genetic disorder that progressively breaks down the nerve cells in the brain, affecting a person’s physical and mental abilities.
After her dad, Raymond, was diagnosed, Sarah and her mom would turn to local support groups to learn more about Huntington’s disease and its symptoms, which include slurred speech, involuntary movements and more.
His symptoms even led to him being wrongly arrested when police thought Raymond was intoxicated in public.
“It was a shock for sure,” Gardner said. “And I said, ‘What are you doing? Why are you in jail?’ He said, ‘I don’t know, I don’t know why I’m here.’ ”
Gardner continued, “He said public intoxication, and I was like, there’s no way. My dad would never do that. It’s totally not in his character.”
She tested negative for the disease, but Gardner is still active in the Huntington’s disease community and hopes spreading awareness will help others in similar situations.
Roseman Medical Group is one of those places you can get tested for the disease and while Huntington’s has no cure or treatment, there are medications and other ways to manage the disease as well as ongoing research to find a cure.