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HDSA San Francisco Bay Area AFFILIATE

HD Advocates, HDSA San Francisco Bay Area AFFILIATE

HDSA San Francisco Bay Area Affiliate Celebrates One Year

The San Francisco Bay Area Affiliate, one of the 55 Chapters/Affiliates across the U.S., of the nonprofit, Huntington’s Disease Society of America,  is celebrating its first year of operation.  Despite the pandemic, team members shifted to zoom monthly meetings, virtual events and have developed a Strategic Plan for 2021 to help in the fight against Huntington’s disease, provide Education Days at Stanford & UCSF Center of Excellence, organize outreach projects so HD families can find services to help their family.   

I’m Therese Crutcher-Marin, the Chair for the Affiliate.  Amy Fedele 

HD Advocate Amy Fedele

is co-chair and Cole Holderman is secretary. 

On Saturday, January 11, 2020, the first Affiliate meeting was held at UCSF with 22 attending from Genetech, HOPES, community folks, UCSF & Stanford Centers of Excellence, and HDSA social workers/staff.  

Author Therese Crutcher-Marin, HD Advocate

I want to thank everyone involved in the Affiliate in 2020 for their time and dedication and I’m excited to kickoff 2021 at our first meeting on Wednesday, January 6, 2021.  At this first meeting of the year, we’ll be discussing the strategies to implement the 2021 Strategic Plan to outreach to the HD community in the Bay Area.  

We Can Never Lose HOPE………

Visit my My Author Website and check out my nonfiction  book,  Watching Their Dance.


HDSA, HDSA San Francisco Bay Area AFFILIATE

Make An End of Year Donation to Huntington’s Disease Society of America

Author Therese Crutcher-Marin, HD Advocate

I’ve been blogging for five (5) and for the first time I’m asking American’s, directly from my heart to yours, to donate to the nonprofit, Huntington’s Disease Society of America.  HDSA Organization  HDSA is a small nonprofit, 90% volunteer based, and no less important than the American Cancer Society, MS Society, Alzheimer’s Assoc. and Parkinson’s Foundation.  Huntington’s Disease (HD) families suffer like families of these diseases.

HD is one of 7,000 Rare Diseases in the world with NO CURE.  In the U.S., HD affects a small population; approximately 41,000 Americans live the disease and 200,000 live at risk.  I’m a volunteer and Chair for HDSA San Francisco Bay Area Affiliate, having lost my three (3) sisters-in-law to HD complications.  

I’m reaching out to you because it has been an unusual year with the pandemic which has affected everything in our lives.   Please consider making your year-end donation to HDSA so the nonprofit can continue supporting Huntington’s disease (HD) families across the U.S.  DONATE TO HDSA

Resources/programs funded by HDSA are: 50 Centers of Excellence (HD) clinics, local HD support groups, Disability Chats, Telehealth Program, National Youth Alliance Program, education and research.  HDSA also funds two yearly fellowships, Berman Topper Fellowship   Donald King Summer Research Fellowship , and the Human Biology Project.

HDSA has high ratings as a nonprofit.  Please see HDSA’s Charity Navigator ratings.

To make a donation, please visit:  HDSA Donation Page  

Thank you in advance for your generosity.

Below are HDSA accomplishments:

We Can Never Lose HOPE……………





Fundraising, HDSA San Francisco Bay Area AFFILIATE

A Virtual 10K Run & 5K Walk for Huntington’s Disease

It’s count down time!  Eighteen (18) days until the San Jose VIRTUAL Team Hope 10K Run & 5K Walk to help in the fight against Huntington’s disease.  (June 20th)

It’s FREE to join!  Donations are welcomed and appreciated!

Join, signup, here for the Run and Walk

The HDSA San Jose Team Hope 10K Run & 5K Walk is usually held at Campbell Park on the Los Gatos Creek Trail, but due to the Coronavirus, the event was changed to a VIRTUAL fundraiser.


Due to the economic impact of COVID-19, we anticipate raising most of our funds through peer-to-peer fundraising.  And we want to reward you for your hard work and effort!  

Local RAFFLE: (gift cards will be mailed)

Photo by alykat on / CC BY


$100 Gift Card for “The Table” restaurant in Willow Glen
$100 Gift Certificate from “Sprouts Farmers Market”


To help support and reward your amazing fundraising achievement to support the HDSA mission, HDSA is launching new Incentives!

$100+: HDSA Team Hope T-Shirt

$125+: HDSA Family is Everything Brandanna (facecovering)

$500+: HDSA Team Hope Contigo Water Bottle

$1,000+: HDSA Portable Cooler Totebag

$2000+: HDSA Stadium Blanket

The T-shirts and Face coverings will be shipped on a regular basis as the fundraising goals are met.  The water bottle, cooler and stadium blanket will be shipped in December for fundraising achievements through November 30, 2020

We Can Never Lose HOPE….


HDSA San Francisco Bay Area AFFILIATE

The Story Behind the HDSA San Francisco Bay Area Affiliate

The volunteers for the new San Francisco Bay Area Affiliate

The Huntington’s Disease Society of America (HDSA) has announced the formation of the new Bay Area Affiliate in HDSA’s Pacific Region. In California, HDSA’s Bay Area Affiliate extends from Santa Rosa to Gilroy counties, including the cities of San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose.What is Huntington’s disease?

The Bay Area affiliate is one of ten chapters/affiliates in HDSA’s Pacific Region.

“Congratulations to the Bay Area volunteers who have tirelessly advocated to create this new Affiliate so they can bring more education, services and support to their community,” said Louise Vetter, HDSA’s President & CEO. “The addition of a new HDSA Affiliates and Chapters is critical to expanding the community-based support that HD families provide to one another.” 

In 2014, the seeds were planted for this Affiliate. At the time, Natalie Carpenter was HDSA’s Pacific Southwest Regional Development Director and she was coordinating the San Francisco Team Hope Walk. The Team Hope Walk program is HDSA’s largest national grassroots fundraising event. Thousands of families, friends, co-workers, neighbors and communities nationwide walk together each year to support HDSA’s fight to improve the lives of people affected by HD and their families.

One of the people that registered for the San Francisco Team Hope event was Amy Fedele. Natalie was immediately moved by Amy’s story and passion to support the HD community.

“I read her compelling story about her mom’s fight with the disease and her gene positive diagnosis and I couldn’t stop thinking about her strength and courage,” said Natalie. “I contacted her immediately and asked her if she was willing to share her story and if she wanted to get involved with the HDSA as a volunteer and advocacy advocate.”

Amy was diagnosed with the gene that causes Huntington’s disease (HD). HD 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 usually during their prime working years and has no cure.

“I volunteer my time to raise awareness and raise money to offer additional resources,” Amy explains. “I support families affected my HD, like my own, so they never feel alone in their fight against HD.”

Amy’s mother also tested positive for HD, as well as her uncle and her aunt who passed away due to complications from HD. Amy is her mother’s caregiver and, luckily, Amy’s brother tested negative for the gene that causes HD.

In 2015, Amy became HDSA’s San Francisco Team Hope Walk honoree.

HD Advocate Amy Fedele

“Since then Amy has chaired the Team Hope Walk and helped with any HDSA Bay Area event,” Natalie explains.

In 2016, Amy wanted to form more events in the Bay Area, so she went out to build more relationships and find new supporters to join the fight against HD.

“We spoke frequently about the goal of creating an affiliate once we found the right committee and support system in place,” said Natalie.

However, in March of 2017, Amy would have another battle to face: stage two triple positive breast cancer. She needed multiple surgeries and went through chemotherapy. According to Amy, this made her stronger and fight harder.

In that same year, Amy was awarded HDSA’s National Person of the Year. She was also awarded the San Francisco 49ers Community Quarterback award for her community volunteer work with HDSA. Since then, the 49ers have been involved with the San Francisco Team Hope Walk.

Finally, in 2018, Amy was cancer-free. “Amy is a force of nature and I feel truly blessed to have met her and I am very honored to call her my friend,” said Natalie.

As Natalie was transitioning into a new role on HDSA’s National Development Team, Amy had another ally in making the HDSA

Author Therese Crutcher-Marin

Bay Area Affiliate a reality: Therese Crutcher-Marin.

Therese married into a HD family and witnessed the symptoms firsthand. The symptoms of Huntington’s disease are described as having ALS, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s – simultaneously. Symptoms include personality changes, mood swings, depression, impaired judgement, involuntary movements, slurred speech, difficulty in swallowing, and significant weight loss.

She would later become a hospice professional and caregiver. She wrote a non-fiction book called Watching Their Dance: Three Sisters, a Genetic Disease and Marrying Into a Family At Risk for Huntington’s. For information about the book, click here. She donated all the profits from the book to HDSA. Since 2017, more than $14,000 has been donated to HDSA.

“When a challenge presented itself to Amy and me, we embraced it,” said Therese.

In 2018, Amy joined Therese on HDSA’s Northern California Chapter board to learn more about HDSA’s local governance and programs. By the end of 2018, she had learned a lot with the Chapter and was ready to start an Affiliate specifically for the Bay Area.

In that same year, Natalie, now Assistant Director of Donor Services with HDSA, held an HDSA “Great Gatsby” event in Sonoma, California. At the event, Amy met Vic and Kim Aul. Both expressed interest in joining the potential Affiliate.

Amy and Therese also have working relationships with University of California, San Francisco and Stanford University. Both are a part of HDSA’s Centers of Excellence Program that provide an elite team approach to HD care and research. Professionals at these Centers have extensive experience working with families affected by HD and work together to provide families the best HD care program. Amy and her mother are patients at the University of California, San Francisco.

With the assistance of Denny Cone, HDSA’s Pacific Regional Development Manager, the application process for HDSA’s Bay Area Affiliate began and was accepted a year later. The Board includes thirteen members. Therese will be the Chair of the Affiliate and Amy will be the Co-Chair. To see the full list of members, click here.

“As Chair of the Affiliate, my goals are to promote services available to HD families, generate dollars to increase services, heighten HD awareness and guide families into the HD community so no one has to ever feel alone,” Therese explains.

In this coming year, Amy and Therese are looking forward to building a presence in the Bay Area community. The Affiliate is looking to HDSA’s National Youth Alliance (NYA) to assist with reaching new families and have a NYA member on the board.

Established nearly twenty years ago, the HDSA NYA is HDSA’s nationwide youth program providing support, services and community to children, teens, and young adults affected by HD. With regional retreats, youth social workers and an annual event at the HDSA National Convention, the NYA is the most experienced youth support program for the HD community.

“I want the NYA to be the voice of the youth in the Bay Area and talk to people their age,” said Amy. “I want them to be a big part of the Bay Area Affiliate, because our youth is the future.”

The future is bright for the HDSA Bay Area Affiliate. As Amy explains, “We have had successful events and want to bring more support in the Bay Area. My goal is to get more sponsors in the area and have one big event. The only way we can accomplish this is if we can do this together.”

We Can Never Lose HOPE………………..

HDSA San Francisco Bay Area AFFILIATE

A Charity That Can Use Your Help

Author Therese Crutcher-Marin

Do you know how many nonprofits there are in the United States?  I didn’t until I Googled it.  It blew my mind.

According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics (NCCS), more than 1.5 million nonprofit organizations are registered in the U.S.
This number includes public charities, private foundations, and other types of nonprofit organizations, including chambers of commerce, fraternal organizations and civic leagues.                                                                                          
Huntington’s Disease Society of America (HDSA) is one of the 1.5 million charities.   I’ve chosen to be involved with this charity because Huntington’s disease (HD) has impacted my life in a huge way.  My mother-in-law and three (3) sisters-in-law, Lora, Marcia and Cindy has all died from HD complications.  To learn more about HDSA, visit:                                                                                          
I’m involved with the NEW HDSA San Francisco Bay Area Affiliate and we need volunteers in order to meet our mission. HDSA is dedicated to improving the lives of everyone affected by Huntington’s disease and their families.”
The SF Bay Area Affiliate Team works to improve the lives of HD families by organizing fundraising events which funds local services; i.e. University of California, San Francisco and Stanford University Centers of Excellence (HD clinics), support groups, and education days.                                                                                                                                                                               
We need volunteers!
If you are  interested in volunteering, email me at [email protected]   


HDSA San Francisco Bay Area AFFILIATE

2020 Welcomes the New HDSA San Francisco Bay Area AFFILIATE

Author Therese Crutcher-Marin

I’ve always welcomed a challenge in my life, my work, and in my volunteer efforts.  Living at risk with John for Huntington’s disease (HD) was the biggest challenge of my life, and, luckily we made it through the fire.  HD is a rare, fatal, genetic brain disorder with NO CURE.  When a parent has HD, each child has a 50/50 chance of inheriting this horrific disease.  For more information on HD, visit

HD Advocate Amy Fedele

When a challenge presented itself to Amy Fedele, an HD advocate in the San Francisco Bay Area, and myself, we embraced it.


The San Francisco Bay Area, with 7.1 million folks, does not have a Huntington’s Disease Society of America (HDSA) Chapter or Affiliate; 54 Chapters/Affiliates exist across the U.S.  The HDSA Northern California Chapter territory included the Bay area; their territory was huge and impossible to carry out HDSA’s mission in this part of the Northern California.  So, the new SF Bay Area Affiliate will work in partnership with them to fill in the gaps of service, To view the Chapters/Affiliates across the country, visit:

So, with that said, last year, Amy and I began the process to become a HDSA “Affiliate” with the help of Denny Cone, HDSA Regional Development Manager.  I wrote a Letter of Intent, filled out paperwork and submitted it to HDSA.   On October 3, 2019 we were granted the status of San Francisco Bay Area Affiliate and we begin operation today!

It’s a great New Year for the HD community and we are thrilled to have the first Affiliate meeting on January 11, 2020 at University of California, San Francisco Center of Excellence.

We Can Never Lose HOPE…………………

Visit the link to read about overcoming life’s challenges: