Gerry is well known in the online HD community as a good friend who will cheer you up with a joke or a word of encouragement. Life is never dull with Gerry around. His wife Bonnie is also known as a good friend.... and a good sport <g>!
Way back in July, 1996, I tested for Huntington's Disease. A year prior to this, things weren't the same at the cab company where I worked as a dispatcher. I was messing up numbers, sending drivers to the wrong address, being rude to customers on the phone. This wasn't like me! I talked with management and agreed to leave January 1st of 1996. When I tested in July, I got hit with my results. Positive for Huntington's Disease. What bad luck, eh? My sister, Debbie, also tested positive in 1997.
My biggest challenge has been battling depression and I want to share what I've learned with others. Between 1996 and now I tried suicide more than once. But I have gotten help from my shrink and my chat room friends in MGH, a Huntington's chat room.
Now I try to keep busy as much as possible. We are lucky in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Our Huntington's Society is great! Once a month they take us Phds to various places - shows, museums, the National Gallery, to name a few of them. The Society also has sent me to camp for needed week off in the summer, where my wife and I both get a break. It is a great place. I've met 50-75 new people with HD, all in different stages, young and old. I consider 45 to be old (I'm only 44, hahaha!).
We have also done fundraising for HD. We did Go-carts (my wife Bonnie has to drive), garage sales, and countless flower sales (amaryllis). Ms. Bonnie has even done crafts for the HD cause.
We got into public awareness. We give speeches about Huntington's Diseases, mainly to groups in federal government buildings. The last speech was in October of 1999. While visiting friends in Texas from the online HD community, (Redfish and Susie), we were tracked down by e-mail from the HD Canada Office. We were told that the speech went over very well! Donations doubled over the previous year! We are planning more speeches for the this year, 2000.
Mentioning Texas, we just finished a three and a half month traveling blitz of 15,000 miles visiting HD friends from the chat room. We started in New Jersey and ended up in California. We even went to Mexico a couple of times. Of course we met a lot of great people in a lot of states (thanks, Ms. Bonnie for driving).
Not all days are rosy. I still get moody and down. As some of my HD chatter friends know, I had another bout with depression in March of this year (Thanks Ms. Susie and Mr. Terry for being there ((((((((hugs)))))))). I'm presently under Doctor's care again...something I thought I didn't need but of course I was wrong.
We're back at our Camper until October of 2000. I spend lot of time watching birds. We feed a lot of raccoons by hand and I still chase away the skunks, at least I will until I get sprayed anyway, lol!!!!! So in closing, being positive does not mean you have to stop life. It's the time to start! I now take one day at a time and I've started a new rule. If I'm getting down I'm going to get help fast. I've got a tenth grandchild on the way too, eh? So I've got to go for the help...somewhere, whether it be a shrink (no shame in that) or family or clergy. So to the rest of the people reading this, do the same!!! Or even come into the HD chats, there are three of them now. We're all in the same boat, some how. So if you're HD positive like me stay on the positive side of thinking, find things to do, anything! Thanks Ms. Lynn, Ms. Cristy, and Mr. Steve for letting me say a few words.