Skip to main content

HD 101

HD Heroes

Rand Paterson

Amazingly my dad just turned 80 this year. He has late onset Huntington’s. His symptoms didn’t start until he was in his late fifties, although it is only in hindsight that I can say this. I didn’t know what was going on at the time because HD was kept a secret in my family.

My dad has always been a reserved person but in the past few years I can say that his playful, relaxed and contented side has really come out. Last month when we went to visit him for his birthday a staff member volunteered to take a family photo for us. Just before she was about to take the shot she placed a large hat that looked like a birthday cake on his head. I never could have imagined him wearing a silly birthday hat and my first instinct was to think he wouldn’t like it. But he laughed and smiled for the camera. 

That’s why I chose to share this picture. Because even with all of the hard things that HD brings into our lives there are still things to be grateful for. My dad is still walking with a walker. He is still aware, for the most part, of what is going on. He still makes it down to the dinning room for meals. And on his journey with HD I feel lucky because he has made all the hard decisions for himself along the way so that we didn’t have to. Like giving up his driver’s license, moving into a retirement home, and letting us take care of his finances. 

My dad has been a positive example and it give me hope for my future when I start having symptoms too. I only hope I can go through my journey with as much dignity as him.