Breann Shaughnessey lost her grandmother to Huntington’s disease and now aims to raise awareness and funds to defeat the disease. The Presentation Academy senior has organized Dance4Hope, a dance marathon fundraiser on March 5 to benefit the Huntington’s Disease Center for Excellence at the University of Louisville.
“It bothers me when people do not know what Huntington’s Disease is, yet so many people are affected by this. After losing my grandmother and being able to understand the disease more, it really put a drive in me to do this event,” Shaughnessey said.
Huntington’s disease is a fatal genetic disorder that causes the progressive breakdown of nerve cells in the brain and affects approximately 30,000 Americans. Symptoms usually appear between the ages of 30 and 50. Patients affected by the disease develop chorea (involuntary movements), difficulties with cognition and often psychiatric manifestations such as depression and irritability.
The Huntington’s Disease Center of Excellence is part of UofL Physicians Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders. The center works to improve the lives of people affected by the disease with an elite multidisciplinary approach to care and research. It is one of 41 Huntington’s disease Centers of Excellence in the United States.
Dancers and spectators of all ages and abilities are invited to participate in Dance4Hope. Proceeds from the marathon will support UofL’s research into the causes and potential therapies for Huntington’s disease. Shaughnessey hopes to raise $5,000.
“We appreciate Breann’s efforts to support the center and we share her mission to improve the lives of individuals suffering from this devastating neurodegenerative disorder,” said Kathrin LaFaver, MD, director of the UofL Physicians Movement Disorders center and assistant professor of neurology at the UofL School of Medicine.
When: Sunday, March 5, 1-5 p.m.
Where: Manhattan on Broadway, 716 East Broadway, Louisville
Benefitting: Huntington’s Disease Society of America Center of Excellence at University of Louisville
Register: Sign up online through March 4.