By Kara Szymanski, Shelby-Utica
SHELBY TOWNSHIP — For a decade, the Huntington’s Disease Society of America Michigan Chapter has been holding a special event to help raise funds toward finding a cure.
At 7 p.m. March 9, the Michigan Chapter will be hosting the 10th annual Spotlight on a Cure fundraising event at the Enchantment Hall, located at 46915 Hayes Road in Shelby Township.
“Huntington’s disease is a fatal genetic disorder that causes the progressive breakdown of nerve cells in the brain,” according to the Huntington’s Disease Society of America. It deteriorates a person’s physical and mental abilities and has no cure.
According to the HDSA, approximately 30,000 Americans suffer from Huntington’s disease. Since 1999, the HDSA has committed more than $18 million to fund research, with the goal of finding treatments to slow the effects of Huntington’s disease.
“There is close to 7,000 people in Michigan at risk of the disease that can be passed down to families,” said Matthew Santamaria, the communications coordinator for the Huntington’s Disease Society of America.
Krissi Putansu, of Rochester Hills, with the help of friend Amber Frampton, of Shelby Township, started the Spotlight on a Cure event to help raise funds for the Huntington’s Disease Society of America Michigan Chapter.
Putansu, who is currently the fundraising chair for the society, started the event because her mother had Huntington’s disease.
The society is expecting to be able to raise $10,000 with its Spotlight on a Cure event in Shelby Township.
The fundraiser will feature live music, dinner, a cash bar, dancing, comedy, circus acts and more.
“The Spotlight on a Cure is a talent show with around a dozen performances from some amateur talent all up to some established semiprofessional groups or individuals that perform in the area and donate their talent to the show. Acts can be bands, individual singers, dancers, acrobats, comedians, magic shows, etc.,” said Dave Stickles, the president of HDSA Michigan Chapter, via email.
He said that the event gets even more interesting every year.
“It is always fun and very entertaining,” Stickles said.
Putansu said there is always something new.
“We have had drag queens, impersonators, fireeaters, hula-hoopers and more. It’s such a fun event to watch evolve over a decade. It’s one of the only upscale events like this in metro Detroit!” Putansu said via email.
She also said that, with the event, they have been able to teach many people about Huntington’s disease.
“We teach hundreds of people about HD — that had no idea it existed — each year,” said Putansu.
Tickets for the event cost $40 in advance or $50 at the door.
“We usually have over 200 people at this event and raised around $90,000 to date,” she said.
The Huntington’s Disease Society of America Michigan Chapter is located in Birmingham. For more information on Huntington’s disease or the event, visit HDSA.org.