By: Sarah Al-Shaikh
MASON, Mich. (WLNS) — Most people in their 20s think they’ll live forever. What happens when someone that young is told they only have a short time to live?
Chelsea Paradise got that news. She was diagnosed with Huntington’s Disease. Now, she’s educating others about the rare illness.
She makes handouts about the disease for police officers and other first responders.
“It’s just a way to get people… especially law enforcement to understand you know what’s going on,” Chelsea said.
Chelsea said its like every bad disease you could think of all in one.
“ALS, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s all in one… like bipolar schizophrenia,” Chelsea said.
She said it essentially eats at your brain.
“Shaking and then your memory starts to slip and then you obviously start to fall, and you start having swallowing issue,” Chelsea said.
After developing symptoms, Chelsea said people with Huntington’s have 10 to 20 years left to live.
But, she said most people don’t die because of the disease itself.
“They die because of pneumonia, because of choking, because you know of complications that come with all of that,” Chelsea said.
Not many people know about this rare disease, which is why she makes these pamphlets.
“It tells you exactly what Huntington’s is, and the behaviors of it,” Chelsea said.
She said officers may not know someone has the disease when they pull them over.
“You shake really bad and you stumble and you fall a lot so people think that you’re drunk or you’re on drugs or that you have issues,” Chelsea said.
Huntington’s Disease runs in her family. Chelsea was diagnosed almost three years ago.
She said she’s experiencing a few symptoms like shaking and memory loss.
“I am going on 27 so my guess is by about 40 to 41 to 43 I’ll be in a home,” Chelsea said.
Knowing her diagnosis, she’s not wasting time.
“If I want to go out and do something or if I want to go travel, or if I want to go eat some really fattening food, I’m just gonna do it,” Chelsea said.
There is no cure for Huntington’s. So, she made it her life’s mission to help find one and to support others.
Her message to others?
“Life is very short no matter what happens. I don’t care if you get Huntington’s I don’t care if you’re as healthy as a horse. You can go out and get into a car accident, live your life, ” Chelsea said.
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