The Patrick Wells Family

Recently our family was devastated to learn that our Patrick has the dreaded disease that took his own father's life:  Huntington's Disease. For those of you who aren't familiar with HD, Huntington’s disease (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 during their prime working years and has no cure. 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.

 We were really hoping above hope that HD's path of destruction in his family had ended. But now that Patrick has been diagnosed we have to face the fact that our children, now 18 and 14 years old, are at risk for HD.

In August, working became too difficult for Patrick, who has been a loving, devoted husband, dependable father, and determined provider for our family of four, has worked as a truck driver for over 20 years.  We tell ourselves that he is not disabled, but now "retired," knowing all the while his thinking, speaking, swallowing, and movement are continually in decline.  One of his greatest disappointments is that he is no longer able to provide for us as he has always done.  Needless to say, we were unprepared for the financial difficulties this would create.   Bills are piling up and there will be many more, as symptoms increase and medical expenses accumulate.  Since there is no cure, treating the symptoms with medications, mental and physical therapies will be the order of each day.

On the brighter side of things, we are able to spend more time as a family while he is at home with us, helping around the house and resting when he needs to (he gets tired very easily!)  But we are not taking this diagnosis lying down! Patrick is a fighter! Our family is blessed to call him Husband and Father, and friend. We are blessed to have so many family members and friends praying for him and encouraging us! We have known for a long time that Huntington's Disease was a possibility but have only just begun this journey for ourselves, so I ask for your continued prayers as there are many hurdles to overcome before we can get back to the business of living and making the best of what we started 20 years ago as husband and wife.

If you feel led to, please lend us a hand to help fill the financial gaps while we are struggling to find our place in our family's new reality. We are so grateful for your support.  Also, thank you for taking the time to read this as well, and taking the time to familiarize yourselves with Huntington's Disease.  For a long time, Huntington's Disease has been a dreadful "family secret" for many families like us, but we don't intend for that to continue, and would like to spread awareness so there will be more understanding and compassion for people like our Patrick, as well as more research for a cure for the children of HD.  Love and Hugs!
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Leslie Wells 
Beaverdam, VA
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