By Kathryn Merck

MADISON, Wis. — The Wisconsin Chapter of the Huntington’s Disease Society of America (HDSA) held the Madison Team Hope Walk and Run on Sunday morning at McKee Farms Park.

“Days like today are a chance for our entire community to get together,” said Shana Verstegen. She coordinated the event in Madison for an organization that’s raising awareness across the country.

Team Hope is HDSA’s largest national grassroots fundraising event, which takes place in over 100 cities across the U.S.  Thousands of people walk together each year to support HDSA’s mission to improve the lives of people affected by Huntington’s disease and their families.

The nationwide fundraising event ‘Team Hope’ has raised more than $20 million for Huntington’s disease since it started in 2007.

‘We have a bunch of people walking and running and celebrating the hope that we’ll hopefully find a cure,” said Verstegen. “We want to raise money for research and take care of families already struggling with Huntington’s Disease.”

Huntington’s disease is a fatal genetic disease that affects the nerve cells in the brain that is described as having ALS, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s disease all at once. Today, there are approximately 41,000 symptomatic Americans and more than 200,000 at risk of inheriting the disease.

“The children of someone with Huntington’s have a 50 percent chance of inheriting that dominant gene,” said Verstegen. “That’s the bad news.”

As for the good news, Verstegen says the good news is that there’s promising research locally to try to help find a cure. She said some of that research is happening at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“We have an amazing support network here in the state of Wisconsin,” said Verstegen.