The Huntington's Disease Society of America (HDSA), will recognize the outstanding contributions to improving the quality of life of people with Huntington's Disease (HD) by several individuals and two organizations at the 13th annual Guthrie Awards Dinner this Thursday.
All proceeds from the event go to the Woody and Marjorie Guthrie Research Fund, which has raised over $1,500,000 through this event. These funds help support the innovative HDSA Coalition for the Cure, a unique consortium of 16 world class scientists, working in teams, who have made most of the major discoveries as to how the huntingtin gene causes HD, at the genetic and molecular level. These findings have made it possible to develop potential therapies to treat the symptoms of Huntington's Disease, and eventually the disease itself.
Woody Guthrie, the American songwriter/poet/singer, died of complications from Huntington's Disease. His widow, Marjorie Guthrie, founded the organization 42 years ago. The Society's mission - to improve the lives of people with HD and their families - is realized by a three-part program to find a cure for the disease; provide help to people with HD and their families; and to educate the public and medical community about HD.
The 2009 honorees are:
- Barbara Boyle, recently retired former National Executive Director/CEO of HDSA, who helped create the HDSA Coalition for the Cure, HDSA Centers of Excellence, and expanded the Society to its present 40 chapters and affiliates;
- Lundbeck, which distributes the first treatment approved by the FDA specifically for Huntington's Disease, Xenazine (treatment for chorea);
- HDSA leaders, Liz Weber and Stone Gossard (of Pearl Jam), who have guided the growth of HDSA's Northwest chapter, and helped increase awareness of HD throughout the U.S.;
- MIND (MassGeneral Institute for Neurodegenerative Disease) which has been in the forefront of research into HD, as well as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and ALS; and
- Musician Ani DiFranco, who will be receiving the Woody Guthrie Award, for being a voice for positive social change.
Huntington's Disease Society of America