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The Truth About Living At Risk for Huntington’s Disease

“Uncertainty is the only certainty there is, and knowing how to live with insecurity is the only security.” ~John Allen Paulos

John and I lived AT RISK for the cruelest  disease on the planet, Huntington’s disease (HD), for 38 years.  It was in 2016, that John decided he wanted to know his gene status.  Many years ago, the genetic test became available in 1993, I asked him to have the test done, but he couldn’t, and I understood why.  5-tips-for-living-with-uncertainty/

Why wouldn’t John test, you ask?  The reason “why”was staring at both of us everyday for 28 years; that being the faces of his three sisters who died because of HD. John didn’t want to know; hope was what he and I clung to, as well as to each other.

Lora, Cindy, Marcia Marin

John’s oldest sister, Lora, my dear friend, was never tested or diagnosed because she began showing symptoms in 1982 and no test was available.  She became very depressed, a common first psychiatric symptom of HD.  Living AT RISK for Huntington’s disease was emotionally difficult for Lora and I  knew it and so did John and we tried to help but the stress lead to her demise.  Lora chose to self-medicate with alcohol, and, unfortunately, she drank herself to death.  We lost her in 1989 at age 41.  What-is-HD

I know how this sounds, morbid, but the world has no idea of what it is like to live with unimaginable uncertainty every day.  Living with the fact that your world could change overnight, how you could be struck down with the disease at the prime time of your life, and then, how you would slowly lose your ability to walk, talk and think over a ten to twenty period of time, is beyond the word difficult.  what-is-high-functioning-anxiety

It’s estimated that approximately 200,000 live AT RISK in the United States and an unknown number exists throughout the world. Watching Their Dance: Three Sisters, a Genetic Disease and Marrying into a Family At Risk for Huntington’s is the story of how I survived living in the shadow of Huntington’s disease, waiting and watching ever so closely to see who of the four people I loved, would fall prey to HD;  John, Lora, Marcia and/or Cindy Marin.

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We Can Never Lose HOPE……

HDSA Fundraising events

HDSA 2018 NYC Marathon Team

The results are in for one of the biggest fundraiser for Huntington’s Disease Society of America (HDSA) held on November 4, 2018.

The 26 runners on the 2018 HDSA NYC Marathon Team, raised      $114,560.00!

                 Thank you so much


To read about the 26 HDSA Team runners, go to:

Our daughter, Vanessa, and daughter-in-law, Fran, were on the HDSA 2016 NYC Marathon Team and raised $110,000.00.                    

Our son Keith, son-in-law, Scott, Scott’s parents, John and I traveled to New York and cheered them on.  We had so much fun while the runners raised money to help in the fight against Huntington’s disease.What-is-HD

To apply to be on the 2019 HDSA NYC Marathon Team, go to this page in March to sign up:

We Can Never Lose Hope…………..

Taking Care of Yourself

The Color that Soothes Me: Purple

Do you have a color that soothes and relaxes you?  I’ve loved purple since I was a little girl and when I wear it, it makes me happy.  When John and I got married in 1980, my bridesmaids dresses were a soft lavender shade.  It’s hard to find purple in woman’s clothes, so when Vanessa, my daughter, and I shop, we’re both on the look out for anything purple.  My Aunt Trina sends me Lavender chamomile body wash and lavender mist spray to put on my pillow at night

Because of my love for Purple, Wednesday is my purple day and I post pictures with shades of purple on my Facebook wall.

“Violet signifies strength, peace and wisdom. It has the capacity to bring balance and make you feel inner peace:  Read more at:
7 Relaxing Colors and How They Can Affect Your Mood 

Enjoy these beautiful pictures and poignant quotes!

We Can Never Lose HOPE….. 




HOPE-A Powerful Emotion

When I decided to marry John, even with his unknown gene status for Huntington’s disease (HD), the cruelest disease on the planet with NO CURE, instead of worrying every minute of every day, I chose to cling to HOPE.  what is HD?

HOPE is a powerful emotion that gave me strength, so at night when I went to bed, I wrapped my arms around John and HOPE.  Both gave me the strength I needed and I lived with HOPE in my heart for 38 years. (I still have HOPE that one day there will be a cure for Huntington’s disease.)

HOPE also calmed my FEAR, another powerful emotion, that can consume your thoughts.  

When the world says, ‘Give up’ HOPE whispers,

                      ‘Try it one more time.’

In every book I sell, I write:

We Can Never Lose HOPE………………….

An inspirational love story while living in the shadow of Huntington’s disease.

The theme’s in the book are HOPE, UNCONDITIONAL LOVE and FORGIVENESS.

You can find the book on many book websites like Amazon

HD Clinical Studies

Good News for the Huntington’s Disease Community

On September 16, the Huntington’s disease community received the news they have been waiting for.  Roche & Genentech: one company, two names, announces its plans to begin the clinical trial on the drug RG6042 (formerly known as IONIS_HTTRx).

The Ionis-HTTRx drug is an antisense therapy. It targets messenger RNA, a molecule that is an intermediary between DNA, the cell’s genetic material, and the huntingtin protein. Cells use the message as a template to produce the protein. It is designed to stick to a faulty HTT gene’s messenger RNA, reducing the amount of abnormal huntingtin protein the gene generates.

Huntington’s disease (HD) is like having Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and ALS at the same time.  There is NO CURE and it affects children and adults.

Update on RG6042 (formerly known as IONIS-HTTRx)

Huntington’s disease global development programme: Two clinical studies to begin by end of 2018

Dear Global Huntington’s Community,

Thank you for your ongoing support and interest in the investigational medicine RG6042 for Huntington’s disease (HD).

Over the past months we and our partner Ionis Pharmaceuticals have been heavily engaged with communities around the world (patient groups, medical professionals, Health Authorities and payers) to collaborate and build the RG6042 global development programme and upcoming studies. We are eager for RG6042 to advance into further clinical development. In addition, as announced last month, the European Medicines Agency granted RG6042 PRIME (“PRIority MEdicine”) designation, which provides promising medicines enhanced interactions with the agency and the potential for accelerated evaluation.       Read the full article here

Article from   Roche announces details of its ‘pivotal’ huntingtin lowering study 

Article from


Author Therese Crutcher-Marin

We Can Never Lose Hope……….



Feeling Alone

People ask me, “Why do you donate your time to help in the fight against Huntington’s disease (HD) when it will not ever affect your family again?” 

Yes, John dodged the Huntington’s disease bullet, he didn’t inherit the mutated huntingtin gene like his three (3) sisters and mother and for that we are so grateful.

I do it because I don’t want anyone to feel alone like John and I did when Lora, Marcia and Cindy were struggling with the disease process. In the 80″ & 90″s support groups were non existent and there were very few neurologists knowledgeable about HD.

Today, there is so much support, information, and neurologists available to families so I spend much of my time on social media getting the word out.  Facebook has HD support groups you join and there are many online support groups facilitated by social workers.

So, don’t give up!  Help is out there!

We Can Never Lose HOPE…………….




About Author, Family

Knowledge is Power

In January of 1988, after Vanessa was born, John and I decided that I wouldn’t return to work and stay home for a couple of years while the kids were young.   John was making good money at Placer County, and we had money in our savings account, so I was comfortable living on one paycheck. A Walkthrough Guide to Panic Disorder  

At the time, I had two sisters-in-law, who lived locally, challenged by Huntington’s Disease (HD); Lora, severely depressed and drinking herself to death and Marcia, officially diagnosed at UC SF Medical Center two years earlier.  What is HD A few months after I resigned from my management job in Sacramento, I began having panic attacks.  John’s unknown gene status weighed heavily on my mind.  A Walkthrough Guide to Panic Disorder   

To ease my anxiety, I decided to pursue a Masters degree in Healthcare Administration.  Additional education, I felt, made me more marketable, and would replace time lost in the workforce.  I believe knowledge is power and as I studied I became confident that I would secure a job at our community hospital in Auburn, CA which I did in 1991.

The Sacramento Team HOPE Walk is Sat., Sept. 8, at the River Walk Park in Sacramento. To register or make a donation to the event, go to: 





HDSA Convention-Kickoff-June 8, 2018

Huntington’s Disease Society of America Annual Convention Continues: 

Today, Friday, is the day we begin to explore Huntington’s Disease topics  presented by experts/researchers/doctors in the HD world.  The presenters travel from around the world to speak at this convention, so I feel very lucky to be attending.

At 9 a.m., the day will begin with the Opening Keynote Speaker.

By early morning, the attendees will select the Educational Workshops they wish to attend

Please REMEMBER:  Some of the workshops will be LIVE STREAMED.  Go to:

At noon, there will be a Community Awards Luncheon.  

The HDSA National Youth Alliance (NYA) will perform a Talent Show at 7 p.m.


We Can Never Lose HOPE….




Anger, a Natural Reaction to Grief

I have to admit anger started seeping out of my pores when Cindy became symptomatic.  She was the third sister-in-law to fall prey to this monster; Huntington’s disease.  When I started noticing symptoms, I was in denial and ignored it; I didn’t even talk to John about it, but soon it was hard to disregard. As she declined, my anger got worse; I just wanted to take a baseball bat to the monster and make it hurt like I hurt.  What is HD

For those experiencing this emotion, know, anger in itself is a natural reaction to grief and loss; it’s a normal part of grief.  If you are feeling this way, please seek help from a counselor and/or attend a Huntington’s disease support group. 

Article on Grief and Loss             Article on Anger in Bereavement    3-ways-to-work-through-the-anger-stage-of-grief/

The book, Griefland is written by a friend of mine, it’s a great book, and it’s available at

Unfortunately, Huntington’s disease causes many losses to a person with the disease; i.e., loss of independence, loss of being in control, loss of a job, etc. Watching a loved one decline may cause anger issues with the care partner/family.

I feel blessed that by writing my story, it was a healing journey, I was able to release the anger I harbored toward HD.

Therese’s memoir/nonfiction book, Watching Their Dance: Three Sisters, a Genetic Disease and Marrying into a Family At Risk for Huntington’s, is available on her author website   & on Amazon, B&N, & in Kindle, Kobo, Nook, iBooks format.

100% of the profits from the book is being donated to Huntington’s Disease Society of America (HDSA).

We Can Never Lose HOPE………….

                        May is Huntington’s Disease Awareness Month

#LetsTalkAboutHD  #HDAwarenessMonth






The Non Fiction Book

A Labor of Love

May is Huntington’s Disease Awareness Month

When I began writing the nonfiction book, Watching Their Dance, it developed into a Labor of Love, a new expression of my love for my three sisters-in-law.  After Cindy died in 2008, I was looking for something good and positive to come out of Lora, Marcia and Cindy’s struggle with Huntington’s disease. The idea of sharing our family’s experience with HD was born out of this tragedy.  What is Huntington’s disease?

John and I both mourned the death of each of sister even before they we gone from this world because Huntington’s disease shrinks the brain and dementia and cognition problems occur.  Both Marcia and Cindy’s eyes were vacant the last years of their lives and I still tear up when I think about it.   Info on grief and loss: 

I worked on the manuscript for seven (7) years, learning the craft of writing, attending writing conferences, seminars and in 2015 I began working with an editor and published in April 2017.  Writing John and my story and publishing it was the most rewarding thing I’ve done in my life and I’m very proud of the accomplishment.  At the same time, it’s the hardest thing I’ve every done except for giving birth to my children, Keith and Vanessa, which also was a labor of love.  

Therese will be selling her memoir/nonfiction book, Watching Their Dance: Three Sisters, a Genetic Disease and Marrying into a Family At Risk for Huntington’s, at HDSA Annual Convention, June 7-9.  The book is available on her author website   & on Amazon, B&N, & in Kindle, Kobo, Nook, iBooks format. 100% of the profit from the book is donated to HDSA. 

Therese and John donated $9,015.00 to Huntington’s Disease Society of America (HDSA) which was the profit from her book since she published in April 2017.

#LetsTalkAboutHD #HDAwarenessMonth #HDSAFamily

#WeCanNeverLoseHope #WatchingTheirDance