Eau Claire (WQOW) – A walk, a run, and a pie in the face. All of these were done to raise money for a cure to Huntington’s disease.
This hereditary and terminal disease attacks the brain. But for one Eau Claire native, Jake Dowell, the disease bypassed his brain, but not without taking the life of his father, and most recently, his brother Luke Dowell.
"He was sick since he was a teenager," said Dowell. "So, he was 35 when he died. So, he really fought for a long time. I am proud of him for the way he did that and we’ll draw strength from that. And we’ll honor him every way we can."
That’s exactly what Dowell did on Saturday. In honor of his brother and everyone else affected by this disease, a group of volunteers from the Wisconsin chapter of the Huntington’s Disease Society of America (HDSA), organized a ‘Team Hope Run/Walk’ at Carson Park. Organizers expected at least 200 participants and $20,000 in funds raised.
"It’s a really exciting year," said volunteer Shana Verstegen. "We had our biggest breakthrough in Huntington’s research ever last December, where they actually found a drug that worked in human trials and helped decrease the amount of Huntington protein, which could actually lead to a cure. And so before, we talked of a cure, but now it’s actually within reach."
If you’re interested in donating to HDSA, see here for more details.