I am one of five children. Myself and my older sister Dory were adopted back in the early 1960s- closed adoptions with no personal or medical history. Dory was an intelligent hard-working lady and a sharp businesswoman. Dory loved her family and she and her husband Kim had 3 great kids. We all looked up to our big sister!
In hindsight, Dory started showing symptoms of Huntington's Disease about 15 years ago, beginning with personality changes and mental health issues. She was diagnosed with HD ten years ago when she began to have physical symptoms as well. Dory passed away 3 years ago, and her husband Kim preceeded her in death by 18 months. Dory and Kim are survived by their 3 amazing children, all at-risk for HD.
I, along with my wife and children, have been in sheep production for over 20 years. When we heard about the Ovine GM1 project as a possible treatment for HD, we felt an immediate call to become a part of it. We currently have a small commercial flock of white-faced ewes (Dorset/Polypay/Targhee) and are hoping to expand this flock using GM1 carriers to eventually produce affected lambs.
After feeling helpless to fight Huntington's for so many years, we feel like we can finally do something about it! We brought home 2 GM1 carrier rams for our commercial flock on February 23, 2015 and we will be breeding approximately 20 ewe lambs to these rams in April 2015. We hope to have our first GM1 carrier lambs on the ground at the end of September 2015.
Raising the sheep is the easy part of this project. The sheep are a sustainable part of our commercial flock. Financing the research and the process to bring GM1 to clinical trials is the hard part. There are grant requests pending for this project, but more is always needed. We are hoping that our friends and family (and their friends and family through social media outreach) will make small donations towards this research that will bring GM1 to clinical trials. As many of us already know, the need for clinical trials in Huntington's Disease is urgent for so many families.
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