Falkirk’s iconic Kelpies lit up to highlight the worldwide fight against the degenerative neurological condition Huntington’s disease (HD) this week.
Part of HD Awareness Week the Kelpies joined a host of prominent buildings around the world, including First Direct Area in Leeds and the BC Place stadium in Vancouver Canada as well as the Titan Crane in Clydebank in the international HD colours of purple and blue to show support for families affected by the condition.
The Kelpies light up was coordinated by the Scottish Huntington’s Association (SHA), the only charity in the country supporting families affected by HD.
HD is an incurable genetic neurological disorder that usually starts between the ages of 30 and 50 years. It causes three main groups of symptoms: changes to thinking processes – a type of early onset dementia, loss of muscle control and involuntary movements which lead to loss of speech and swallow and mental illness. As it progresses those affected will need 24 hour care. It is also hereditary with each child of those diagnosed at 50% risk developing the disease. There is no cure.
The SHA supports families living with HD through a team of HD specialists, the world’s only HD youth support team and a financial wellbeing helpdesk.
SHA chief executive, John Eden said:
‘The Kelpies and the Titan crane are nboth instantly recognised landmarks so we were delighted when they both agreed to take part in ‘Light Up 4 HD’. It is still a condition that is still widely misunderstood so it’s hugely significant for us to secure such great support in spreading the word about the impact it can have on people’s lives.’
“This was a global initiative with countries in North America and all over Europe taking part, so it’s brilliant the Kelpies could add Scotland’s voice to raising awareness of this devastating condition.’
HD is estimated to affect around 1100 people in Scotland without about another 5000 at risk of potentially developing the disease.