HDSA’s 7th Annual Freeze HD Event Raises $211K to Help Families

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by Mary Chapman |

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Freeze HD event raises $211K/Huntington's Disease News/illustration of hand holding money

Celebrities turned out in force — albeit virtually — to support the 7th Annual Freeze HD event, hosted by the Huntington’s Disease Society of America (HDSA), which raised more than $211,000 to help improve the lives of families affected by Huntington’s disease (HD).

The 2.5-hour show, held online for a second consecutive year, was hosted by actors Kate Miner, Scott Porter, and Jason Ritter. In addition to appearances by other celebrities, the event featured musical performances and an expansive auction.

The organizers said holding the event online actually worked to their advantage.

“Being virtual for the second straight year allowed Freeze HD to share the story of HD families to a global audience while generating much-needed funds to support HDSA’s support programs,” Louise Vetter, HDSA’s president and CEO, said in a press release.

“It was a special night for HD families and we are grateful to all who donated, sponsored, and performed, and to our incredible hosts Kate, Scott, and Jason for putting together an amazing show,” Vetter said.

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Making appearances were actors Marianna Palka, Zach Gilford, Tom Ellis, Layla Alizada, Noel Fisher, India de Beaufort, Todd Grinnell, Bryce Dallas Howard, Paige Howard, Wilson Bethel, Rachel Bilson, Zibby Allen, Simon Helberg, Kimmy Gatewood, Brianne Howey, Kelly Thiebaud, and Briana Lane.

Also showing up were poet Basia Palka, musician Nora Guthrie, singer Brett Scallions, author and screenwriter Jessica Etting, noted neurologist Victor Sung, comedian Patton Oswalt, and representatives for HDBuzz.net, a website that offers global HD research news.

Meanwhile, Clare Dunn, the Edge Effect, and Carly Ritter provided recorded musical performances. In addition, Miner and Brian Logan Dales, from the rock band The Summer Set, performed live from the studio.

An online auction featured 139 items ranging from sports and movie memorabilia to celebrity Zoom calls and vacation packages. In fact, the highest winning bid — $14,300 — was for a Zoom call with Tom Ellis, the actor known for the Netflix series “Lucifer.” So intense was the bidding that Ellis offered a second Zoom call. The two bids garnered $28,600 for the Huntington’s Disease Society of America.

Vetter called the evening a “global celebration of life.”

Supporters were able to buy tickets for the VIP After Party, held on Zoom, enabling them to mingle virtually with the hosts and other special guests, some of whom participated in a trivia contest.

Ritter and his family will be honored at next year’s event, according to the HDSA. Along with Marianna Palka, he and family members co-founded Freeze HD, which to date has raised more than $1.5 million to support the fight against Huntington’s disease, a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by uncontrolled movements, loss of cognitive ability, and psychiatric problems. The disease is thought to affect about 30,000 U.S. residents.

Go here to view a recording of this year’s event.