Nappanee woman hopes to take part in trials for Huntington's disease cure

Published: Dec. 27, 2018 at 5:39 PM EST
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A Michiana family says they hope to be part of new clinical trials coming to the U.S. in January in search of a cure for Huntington's disease.

“I look at the chance we have to get her better,” said David Matthew Russell, whose wife has the disease. “I try not to look at the negatives, because if I do, I won't be able to do anything else. It would eat me alive thinking about it.”

His wife, Tesla Marie Russell, is fighting the inherited disease that causes the breakdown of nerve cells in the brain.

The disease generally causes mental and physical disorders. It makes being a mother to two young boys difficult.

“We don't have family here, so it's a lot of me doing as much as I can, I try to do everything,” Russell said. “She does as much as she can and she wants to do more, but we just have to limit certain things.”

Tesla's mother died of the disease in her 40s, and while there is no cure yet, this family hopes that will soon change.


will start two new medical trials in January, and they hope Tesla can join the studies.

“The first chance at a cure is in trials, and we're going to try to get her there,” Russell said. “I try to be optimistic.”

Tesla also strives to stay positive, as she says it can be hard for Huntington's patients to avoid depression.

“People who do have it and are suffering and thinking about suicide, please get help,” she said. “Go to a therapist, I did… I was thinking about suicide, but I would never do that because I couldn't leave my family like that.”

“It does seem like you can't win the battle, but it's definitely worth fighting,” Russell said. ”Every day, I will fight it, because this is my wife, and that's the most important thing.”

The family has

set up to help with medical expenses.


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