Sisters face ‘ticking timebomb’ after mum develops terminal genetic disease

Three sisters face an uncertain future after their beloved mum developed a terminal genetic disease.

The siblings were given a 50/50 chance of developing Huntington's disease after their mum Sharon, 51, was diagnosed with Huntington's disease about 10 years ago.

Since then, Sharon has gradually been robbed of her basic functions as the illness stops parts of the brain working properly, the Manchester Evening News reports.

To make matters worse, one of Sharon's daughters, Rebecca Hudson, 28, tested positive for the illness in January while the remaining two sisters are yet to be tested.

“Watching a parent go through this is a painful experience, but knowing that you are watching your future play out before your eyes while you are helpless to stop it really makes this disease so much harder to cope with,” Rebecca said.

“It was devastating,” she added.

“Both my sisters will have to go through the same process, and I hope with all my heart that I have been the unlucky one and that they find their freedom. It’s like hell waiting to see what your fate is.

“I will never get to experience the normal life events that I see my friends experience – falling pregnant, making career plans and retiring are no longer part of my future.

“Of course I do try to see the positives. I can now control how I live the next couple of years of my life while I am symptom free.

“This to me is a huge privilege as I can ensure I enjoy every moment, appreciate what we would usually describe as the 'small' things.”

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Mum Sharon first started to become unwell in her 30s, losing her balance and becoming forgetful, before a terrible downward spiral which saw her initially hospitalised with schizophrenia, the MEN reports.

It was only in her 40s that doctors diagnosed her with Huntington’s disease.

Once symptoms start, sufferers can expect to live for another 15-20 years, and there are currently no treatments or cure.

"We were lucky enough to be raised by the most loving and caring mum in the world," Rebecca said.

"But by her 30s we started to lose her to the disease and before long she was unrecognisable as the person who walked us to school every day and made our childhoods so full of love.

“With this we had to grieve the loss of the woman that she so briefly got to be, and who we barely remember.

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“She is still an amazing woman who I love more than anything.

“But I’ve witnessed the perilous decline of my mum, as she suffered serious falls from her loss of balance which leaves her prone to black eyes and bruises.

"We’ve seen her cognitive function dissolve to the point where she requires a full-time carer to enable her to function – things like writing and walking and dressing herself are no longer possible because that part of her brain no longer works – it’s just not there.

“The neurological impact of the disease means that independence and dignity become impossible to maintain.”

Eldest sister Hannah Hudson, 30, is being tested for Huntington's later this year, but their younger sister has decided that for the moment she does not want to find out.

Rebecca and Hannah have been determined to raise awareness and funds to find a treatment or cure for Huntington’s – and in April completed a mammoth 8,000-metre walking fundraiser with four friends, raising £5,000.

Rebecca has also launched a JustGiving page to raise money to fund further research into the condition.

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