Reaching for the Stars to Find a Cure for Huntington’s
Do you recall the Apollo 11 mission that took place July 16-24, 1969? My wife, Jill, likes to remind me that she remembers reading about it in a history book. This summer, we will mark the 50th anniversary of the first humans landing on the moon. That may not seem like a big deal in today’s high-tech world, but back then it was literally reaching for the stars.
So why am I talking about aiming for the moon? As astute readers of this column will know, my daughter graduated last month. We attended her graduation ceremony and listened as the university’s president spoke about the people who made the moon landing happen. Think about it: They took equipment, some equations, a whole lot of hope, and built a rocket ship. Then, they took that rocket ship, added some fuel, launched it into space, landed it on the moon, and brought some of it safely back to Earth – all with less technology than we have in our phones today.
How did they do it? At what point did someone look up into space and think that it would be a fun place to visit?
Jill calls me a dreamer. I like to think about the future and how I can make an impact on it in a million different ways, just like the first person who suggested traveling to the moon. Jill, on the other hand, is a planner. She would have said, “Sure, let’s go to space, but how can we make it happen? How much will it cost? Do the positives outweigh the negatives?” She sees the value in dreamers but has a more practical approach to life.
While Jill and I have very different outlooks, we often have the same types of thoughts. As we listened to the speech, our minds began to wander. I started to ponder all of the ongoing research into Huntington’s and my belief in a brighter future for Jill and our daughter, who also has Huntington’s.
When I asked Jill what she was thinking about, she said that a Huntington’s cure is a lot like going to the moon. It seems very far away, and sometimes impossible to conceive of, but with all of the dreamers and planners working on finding one, it’s closer than you think.
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