Alive and Well

, Written by Jennifer Elliott, Posted: Wed, November 20 2013 at 7:17 AM, Updated: Wed, November 20 2013 at 7:55 AM

   Huntington's disease is a debilitating disease that affects one in 10-thousand Americans... including one young woman right here in the Rogue Valley.She's made it her lifes work to raise money and find a cure. Heather Alimossy is only 25 years old.
Already she knows she faces the same fate as her mother.
  

  "It's hard now, because she can't really talk," says Alimossy, speaking  of her mother, "...before I would go and see her she would smile and eyes light up, she stopped communicating a couple of years ago. She definetly has digressed." Her mother is only 59 years old, but afflicted by Huntington's disease: A neuro-degenerative genetic disorder that 1 in 10 thousand Americans inherit.  It affects muscle coordination and leads to cognitive decline... eventually it will claim Heather's mother's life.

"Everyone has a Huntington gene in them," explains Heather, "Everyone has 35 of that, but Huntington's disease patients have more." Through genetic testing, Heather found out she has more too. "I wanted to find out, because I wanted to be a nurse, but you can't be a nurse if you shake," she says, " that's why I had to test."
With that diagnosis at the back of her mind... in 2007, she and 13 others touched by Huntingtons,  decided to take the 19 thousand 386 mile hike to the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro. "It was like surreal, I'm on top of the world for Huntingtons right now." Their climb for the cure raised 500 thousand dollars.

Now she's raising money once more... an award winning documentary airs this month at the Ashland Varsity Theater, featuring her and her family...Hoping her brother ,also diagnosed with the disease and seeing symptoms sooner, may be spared... if experimental treatments work."Trials that can delay or even reverse symptoms," she tells us.

Hoping to find a cure for the 30 thousand Americans with this disease ...a race against a clock that is all too real for this determined young woman.

The documentary, "Alive and Well" airs November 26th at 7 pm. You buy tickets by going to

For more information on the film visit 

Also, the Huntington's Disease Society of America has more information http://www.hdsa.org/

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About the Author

Jennifer Elliott

NBC5 News at Sunrise co-anchor Jennifer Elliott spent most of her life in the Rogue Valley.

After graduating from Brigham Young University–Idaho, she was excited to come home again. Jennifer began her career at NBC5 in 2011 as a production assistant.

Her loves include drawing, playing the organ, fishing and of course, her husband and young son.

Catch Jennifer co-anchoring with Travis Koch weekdays on NBC 5 News at Sunrise starting at 5:30am.

Connect with Jennifer

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