Aug. 29, 2009
LOS ANGELES -
The UCLA men's basketball program teamed up with the Huntington's Disease Society of America to host the First Annual HDSA LA Hoop-A-Thon last night in Pauley Pavilion. UCLA Head Men's Basketball Coach Ben Howland and his wife, Kim, served as honorary co-chairs of the event.
UCLA partnered up with HDSA in an effort to raise money and awareness to find a cure for this devastating illness.
The Hoop-A-Thon was a one-of-a-kind speed free-throw shooting contest. Over 300 people were on hand as either spectators or participants as 18 teams of 10 people battled it out to take the championship title of the first-ever Hoop-A-Thon.
Team Double, comprised of Christine Anderson, Keith Anderson, Darren Anderson, Miles Simon, Donnie Daniels, Gary Davis, Christy Simon, Walt Simon, Arlene Turner and Leon Wood, won the championship title defeating UCLA Connection in the finals.
The crowd on hand heard about the exciting research that takes place here at UCLA from Dr. John Mazziotta, Chairman of the UCLA Neurology Department.
All proceeds from the event will go to the UCLA Center of Excellence for patient care and services as well as research for a cure of Huntington's Disease (HD). It is estimated that over $35,000.00 was raised last night.
HD directly affects Howland's family as his father-in-law, Arlo Zahnow, had Huntington's Disease.
HD is a devastating genetic disorder that causes uncontrollable body movements and deprives people of their abilities to walk, talk, eat and think rationally. This disease is currently incurable and it is fatal.
The gene that causes HD is a mutant of a normal gene. The defective gene causes chemical changes in nerve cells that damages brain structures leading to symptoms. The process that causes nerve cells to die in HD may have similarities to other, more common, disorders such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. Insights into HD may prove useful to understanding these other disorders.
Huntington's Disease is rare but that doesn't make it any less devastating. HD is a tragic reality affecting 30,000 families in America. The facts are grim for HD: There is no cure, it's fatal and because it's rare, funding for research is sparse. But there is hope. Since HD is caused by a type of genetic mutation that is shared by a host of other disorders, solving HD can lead the way to treatments, and ultimately cures for all of them.
For more information on HD, please visit the HDSA LA Web site by Clicking Here.