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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) -
Community members participated in the 3rd annual "Team Hope Walk" for Huntington's Disease in Springfield Saturday.
The walk was held at the Springfield College track to raise money for victims and their families.
Tens of thousands of people each year are diagnosed with Huntington's Disease. The 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.
More than 30,000 Americans are struggling with Huntington's Disease. Brian Platte of Ludlow told 22News, what it's like living with his brother, Bruce Platte, who has Huntington's Disease.
"I have taken care of him for about 3 years, family is the most important thing," Platte said. "It keeps him alive longer than just institutionalizing him. It's sad, it's an awful disease."
Huntington's Disease can lead to loss of language, memory, and movement. Affected individuals usually live 10 to 15 years after symptoms first appear and pneumonia typically causes a person to die.
Some of the people who walked Saturday have lost loved ones to this disease. An organizer of Team Hope Walk, Janell Johnson is one of those people.
"Our main goal here is just to raise awareness. So many people have not even heard of the disease. I lost my mother to the disease and my brother last year to it," Johnson said.
Another organizer, Kinser Canselmo, has also experienced losing a loved one to the disease. She told 22News, "It just takes away your ability to do everything. It's just a devastating disease both Janell and I have been affected personally. I've lost my husband and my 15-year-old daughter to the disease. This is a very important cause to me."
There is no cure for Huntington's Disease, but drugs, physical therapy, and talk therapy can help manage some symptoms.