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Chat About Disability with HDSA

Getting approved for Social Security Disability Insurance is a long frustrating process when one has been diagnosed with Huntington’s disease (HD) and can no longer work.  HD is a rare, fatal, genetic brain disorder that has all the symptoms of ALS, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer at the same time.  There is NO CURE.

I was very happy to learn the nonprofit, Huntington’s Disease Society of America (HDSA), hired a specialist to help HD families with the application and procedure to receive disability benefits.

HDSA offers a Disability Chat program which is designed to provide information, resources and support to both persons affected by HD and their caregivers who are either starting the disability process or have already filed but been denied benefits by the Social Security Administration as well as HDSA social workers who are assisting HD families with their disability applications in their region.

Each month, Disability Chat will feature a topic of interest for either HD families or HD social workers. Each segment will include a 45-minute presentation followed by 15 minutes for discussion with the audience.

Click on link to learn more, next date and how to sign up.

We Can Never Lose HOPE….

Author Therese Crutcher-Marin

I’m a Huntington’s disease advocate having lost my three (3) sisters-in-law to the disease.  We just announced that as of January 1, 2020, we will be a HDSA San Francisco Bay Area Affiliate.  Amy Fedele is the Co-Chair, I’m the Chair.  The Stanford and UCSF Centers of Excellence Teams are involved and it is our hope to increase our presence in the SF Bay Area that has a population of 7.1 million.

My author website is:

You can read about my HD journey and the book I published, Watching Their Dance.  100% of the profits are being donated to the nonprofit, HDSA.  







HDSA San Francisco Bay Area Affiliate Is Official

Yes, it’s official!  The Huntington’s Disease Society of America (HDSA) Board of Trustees approved our request to become a HDSA Affiliate!

As of January 1, 2020, the HDSA San Francisco Bay Area Affiliate will begin operating and continue developing a marketing plan for the year.

The Affiliate will strive to support HDSA’s mission: “To improve the lives of people with Huntington’s disease and their families“.

I want to thank the following Huntington’s disease advocates, the team, for their time and dedication to achieve this goal:

Amy Fedele

UCSF HD Team-Dr. Geschwind, Mark Thoma, Julia Glue, Dr. Dietiker

*Liz Hartland

*Morgan and Chase Parks

*Denny Cone

*Fran and Keith Marin

*Cole Holderman

If you are interested in becoming involved in the fight against Huntington’s disease, contact me at

Currently, there are 54 HDSA Chapters & Affiliate across the U.S.  At the first of  the year, there will be 55 Chapters & Affiliate!





We Can Never Lose HOPE………


San Francisco Bay Area

Author Therese Crutcher-Marin

After the first of the year, I decided to step down from the Huntington’s Disease Society of America (HDSA) Northern California Chapter Board to collaborate with a group of Huntington’s disease (HD) advocates in the San Francisco Bay Area to develop a HDSA Affiliate.

With a population of approximately seven (7) million, a HDSA Affiliate that could evolve into a Chapter would support Huntington’s disease (HD) families. What is Huntington’s disease?  Click here to learn about HD.

So what is an HDSA Affiliate?

An affiliate is a regional representative of HDSA that seeks to promote, assist, enhance and further HDSA’s mission by organizing solely for the purpose of carrying out HDSA’s programs, services and activities through the formation of an officially recognized HDSA Affiliate with a revocable license to use the HDSA name, intellectual property, materials and reputation for that sole purpose for so long as it is a recognized Affiliate. The reality is that an Affiliate is a “Chapter in Training”.

The paperwork has been filed with HDSA and the process could take up to six months to a year.  We are hoping to have a decision from HDSA by the end of 2019.

We Can Never Lose HOPE………     


I’m a Huntington’s disease advocate having lost my three sisters-in-law to this horrific disease.  Watching Their Dance, my inaugural nonfiction book, is available on many book websites like Amazon.  100% of the profits are being donated to HDSA.



Jenne Colar-Dark

Jenne Colar-Dark has been a member of the Huntington’s Disease Society of America (HDSA) Board of Trustees for over a year.    

She is the sister of actress, musician, and Huntington’s disease (HD) advocate Kate Miner. Kate is currently on the television show, Shameless

Kate Miner Biography

Jenne is gene positive for Huntington’s Disease (HD) and has two children at risk.  She found out HD was in her family in 2014 and has been working to advocate for patients, and raise funds for HDSA ever since.

In 2016, Jenne along with her family hosted the Freeze HD event in Los Angeles.  She continues to participate in the HDSA annual Freeze HD event, along with other HD volunteer engagements with HDdenNoMore, and CHDI.

Jenne graduated from the University of San Francisco with a degree in International Business. She has worked for Experian for the last 13 years in a variety of roles from Professional Services, Account Management, and Program Management.

Kate Miner, her mother & 2 sisters.

After living in the Bay Area for over a decade, Jenne and her family relocated back to Southern California to be closer to her mom and sisters.

Kate wrote a book jacket comment that appears on the front of my nonfiction book, Watching Their Dance: Three Sisters, a Genetic Disease and Marrying into a Family At Risk for Huntington’s.  100% of the profits are being donated to HDSA.  To date, John and Therese have donated $14,115.00.  Therese’s author website:





Compassion Use/Right to Try

The nonprofit, Huntington’s Disease Society of America (HDSA) continues to regularly update information on research and advocacy. Consider signing up for the HDSA newsletter. It contains a wealth of information.

Perhaps you are wondering about Right-to-Try legislation for Huntington’s disease patients who are end stage. HDSA provides a summary of the topic.

On its face, the idea behind Right-to-Try legislation is to allow families access to medications and treatments still in the clinical trial phase when an individual has no other treatment options left and is facing a terminal illness. Right-to-Try legislation focuses on cutting red tape in the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to allow easier access to these experimental treatments. But, in reality, the FDA isn’t the issue.  Access to investigational therapies is already permitted through the Food and Drug Administration’s expanded access program. FDA currently approves 99.7% of all expanded access requests submitted by physicians and companies for patients with immediately life-threatening illnesses who cannot participate in clinical trials. Removing FDA from the process of obtaining investigational drugs, as Right-to-Try proposes, increases the risk of patient harm and creates confusion. When access to an experimental drug or treatment is denied, it’s almost always because the request has been denied by the pharmaceutical company, not the FDA.”

At this time all Expanded Access and Right-To-Try requests to Roche will be denied.  This was discussed in the recent HD Community-wide letter that was released by Roche in June.  Specifically, they said “We understand that families may wish to seek access to investigational medicines as soon as possible.  However, access to RG6042 can only be through clinical trial participation at this time. Because the benefits and risks of RG6042 are not fully understood, we are not able to grant pre-approval, compassionate use or “right-to-try” requests.  The company Roche/Genentech

We Can Never Lose HOPE…..

100% of the proceeds from the nonfiction book, Watching Their Dance, is being donated to the nonprofit, HDSA.


National Youth Alliance-Helping Young People Deal with Huntington’s Disease

HDSA’s National Youth Alliance (NYA) motivates youth to get involved in their local Huntington’s Disease Society of America Chapter. Every child of a parent with HD has a 50/50 chance of inheriting the expanded gene that causes the disease. If the child has not inherited this expanded gene, he or she will never develop the disease and cannot pass it on to their children.

The Miller Family whose 3 children are involved in the NYA.

The NYA is made up of young women and men ages 9-29 from across the U.S. that are impacted by Huntington’s.

The NYA mission to not only support young people within the HD community, but also inspire the youth of HDSA to get involved in the battle against HD and be proactive in this fight. 

Talking to Kids about HD: 

We Can Never Lose HOPE………


Therese is the author of Watching Their Dance: Three Sisters, a Genetic Disease and Marrying into a Family At Risk for Huntington’s. 100% of the proceeds are being donated to HDSA.

Family, HDSA

The Faces of Huntington’s Disease

In the following video are the faces of Huntington’s disease (HD); a devil of a disease that attacks adults and children.  Huntington’s disease (HD) is a fatal genetic disorder that causes the progressive breakdown of nerve cells in the brain. It’s like having ALS, Parkinson’s and Alzheimers at the same time.  HD is known as the quintessential family disease because every child of a parent with HD has a 50/50 chance of carrying the faulty gene. Today, there are approximately 30,000 symptomatic Americans and more than 200,000 at-risk of inheriting the disease. 

My three sisters-in-law, Lora, Marcia and Cindy had HD and are now gone from our sight. 

There is no cure or therapy at this time.  

Video taken at the Huntington’s Disease Society of America (HDSA) Annual Convention, June 7-9-18, in Los Angeles, CA and I was there!

We can Never Lose HOPE….  


HDSA Convention-June 9, 2018-HOPE

Huntington’s Disease Society of America Annual Convention Continues: 

Today, Saturday, June 9th, has many workshops to offer to attendees again. Here is the link to today’s schedule.

The morning will be spent listening to the experts at the HDSA Research Forum.

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

In the afternoon,many Workshops are available to select from.  Here are a few: 

  1. Benefits of Staying Connected with Your Center of Excellence
  2. HD Activity Center for Persons with HD
  3. HDSA Special Events and Fundraising to Catapult our Mission Work
  4. How to Effectively Manage the Motor Symptoms of HD
  5. Diagnosing and Managing JHD

From 6- 7  p.m., is the Gala Reception and dinner and dancing goes on until 1 p.m. The Gala brings the 33rd HDSA Annual Convention to a Close.


We Can Never Lose HOPE…….

John, Dr. Vicki Wheelock, and myself at the 2017 HDSA National Convention in Schaumburg IL.


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….




HDSA Convention-Leadership Day-June 7, 2018

Huntington’s Disease Society of America Annual Convention Continues: 

Day 1.  Leadership Day, for those in HDSA Chapters with Leadership roles, is today, June 7th.  It will start off at 8 a.m. with a Continental Breakfast and at 9 a.m., Nancy Rhodes, Director of Field Development & Operations, and Bill Kline will be our first speakers.

After the meeting, at 6 p.m., there will be a Team Hope Walk for all to participate in.  (You will receive a Team Hope Walk t-shirt.)

Then, the Convention Welcome Reception will begin at 7 p.m. and the Exhibit Hall will be open.  (HDSA is graciously allowing me to sell my book again this year).


We Can Never Lose HOPE…………

HDSA Northern California Chapter Convention/Education Day