THE Huntington’s Disease Association is celebrating its 50th Anniversary and has welcomed Casualty actor George Rainsford on board as a new patron.
George plays Dr Ethan Hardy on the popular BBC drama who, in the show, is from a family affected by Huntington’s disease, and his character has the disease.
The producers of Casualty reached out to the Huntington’s Disease Association to fact check an ongoing Huntington’s storyline. Working together allowed George to see first-hand the impact Huntington’s disease has on individuals and families. This, alongside George’s recent ambassadorship of the national Huntington’s disease awareness campaign, Family Matters, led him to give his support to the Huntington’s Disease Association, the national charity supporting people affected by Huntington’s disease across England and Wales.
To celebrate 50 years, the Huntington’s Disease Association will reflect on achievements, taking supporters on a journey through time to learn all about the charity’s history whilst looking at what the future will bring for people living with Huntington’s disease. When the first families affected by Huntington’s disease met back in 1971, only 80 known people reached out for support. 10 years later the number grew to 2000, and today it sits at over 7000.
The Huntington’s Disease Association will also host anniversary-themed fundraising throughout the year. This will include the sale of a commemorative pin badge and, later in the year, the sale of a beautiful amaryllis in a gold pot. The amaryllis flower is the charity’s logo and a well-known symbol for Huntington’s disease around the world.
George Rainsford said:
“The impact of Huntington’s disease can be incredibly difficult for those living with the disease and for their loved ones. It has been fascinating, heart-breaking, life-affirming and humbling talking to Huntington’s disease families who have shared their experiences. I am honoured to become a patron and to help raise awareness of Huntington’s disease so that the public can understand not only how devastating the disease can be but also celebrate the amazing strength and positivity that some families with Huntington’s have. It is particularly exciting to be joining in the charity’s 50th year.”
Chief Executive of the Huntington’s Disease Association, Cath Stanley, said:
“We are thrilled that George has agreed to become a patron of the Huntington’s Disease Association. The Huntington’s disease storyline in Casualty has raised awareness of this disease within the general public, and George’s involvement in our recent Family Matters campaign demonstrated his compassion for those affected by Huntington’s disease.”
Huntington’s disease is a rare neurological disorder that affects the central nervous system and is caused by a faulty gene passed down through families. There are around 8000 people in the UK with Huntington’s and around 32,000 people at risk of developing the disease.
As the Huntington’s Disease Association celebrate their 50 years of providing support and information to those who need it, they are thrilled that George has chosen to come aboard and support their work in this monumental year.