The disease may be daunting, but it won’t stop young, determined woman Ellis Kerton. According to LincolnshireLive, Ellis learned when she was 19-years-old that she was positive for Huntington’s disease. Her father has the disease, as did her grandmother. Her chances of being diagnosed was an intimidating 50/50.
Huntington’s is a neurological condition that affects brain function, slowly deteriorating a person’s cognitive and physical abilities over time. Many experience memory problems, depression, difficulties moving, among other symptoms. It’s a genetic disorder that is inherited from a carrier of a mutated gene. Individuals can’t be tested until the age of 18. Once symptoms are onset, most people with the disease only live for another 15-20 years, and symptoms can start anywhere from ages 30-50.
When Ellis was 19, she went to take the test. The pressure of not knowing was always lingering over her head, so she felt like a weight was lifted after getting the news– even though she received a positive diagnosis. Now that she knows, she’s decided to not let it control her life.
“You just have to adapt and I am going to carry on living my life.”
Ellis is currently a student at the University of Lincoln. There she is the president of the athletics and cross country club. She is in her third year and hasn’t slowed down. While it’s been hard news for both her parents to swallow, she has reassured them as best as she can.
While future plans, such as having children, are still in the more distant future, she’s started thinking about them more seriously. She wouldn’t want to risk passing on Huntington’s disease, and expressed she would probably have IVF. She also shared hope regarding the research for new potential therapies for Huntington’s patients.