Mum facing onset of Huntington’s disease organises rock night in support of families

A mum of three from Lanark is ready to rock and raise funds in support of families – including her own – that are impacted by Huntington’s disease.

Gillian McNab (54) has inspired four top local bands to join forces for SHA Rocks, a night of live music in aid of Scottish Huntington’s Association, the only charity in Scotland dedicated exclusively to supporting people with Huntington’s disease and their families.

Mixed Signals, The Screaming Divas, Sniper Alley and Bueller? will take to the stage at St Nicholas Church Hall in Lanark on Saturday 20 April. The gig sold out within days and Gillian hopes this SHA Rocks event will be the first of many after being inundated with requests for tickets.

“It’s going to be a great night and I am so grateful to all the bands for donating their time and their talent to raise money for Scottish Huntington’s Association,” said Gillian, who works as a palliative care nurse.

“I love live music and have wanted to put on a charity gig for a long time. SHA Rocks is the result and I’ve been overwhelmed by how many people were looking for tickets and how quickly it sold out.”

Scottish Huntington’s Association is a cause very close to Gillian’s heart. Her late mum Myra had Huntington’s disease and Gillian inherited the faulty gene that causes it. For now she is symptom free but Gillian knows the disease will develop.

Huntington’s disease damages the brain over time. People with the disease can eventually lose the ability to walk, talk, eat, drink and care for themselves, requiring specialist support from those who understand the condition.

It is passed down from one generation to the next, meaning it impacts entire families over generations rather than individuals alone. Anyone with a parent who has Huntington’s has a 50% risk of inheriting the condition from them.

Determined to do what she can to help other Huntington’s families while her health allows, Gillian has thrown herself into volunteering with Scottish Huntington’s Association. She was appointed to the Board of Trustees and gives regular talks to medical students, healthcare professionals and community groups.

Gillian is also working her way through an adventurous bucket list to raise funds and awareness about the disease. Her determination has raised over £20,000 for Scottish Huntington’s Association so far through various fundraisers including two wing walks complete with loop the loops and barrel rolls, a fire-walk, a skydive, 100-song dance challenges, and helping to organise the annual SHA Christmas Extravaganza in Lanark.

As one of the country’s most high profile ambassadors for the Huntington’s community, Gillian’s dedication was recognised in 2021 with a Scotland’s Caring Champion Award.

 “There will come a time when symptoms develop and I’m no longer able to live my life the way I want to,” said Gillian.

 “I also live with the knowledge that each of my three daughters is at risk of having inherited the faulty gene that causes Huntington’s. I can’t change that but I can do my best to stay positive and help other people who are affected by this terrible disease.

 “I’m determined to live life to the fullest and create wonderful memories for me and my girls to treasure.”

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