Kelsey Porter Shares Why the Upcoming Freeze HD Benefit Is a Powerful Event

The annual event raises awareness and funds for the Huntington’s Disease Society of America

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by Carlos Briceño |

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One of the supervillains from my childhood was Mr. Freeze, who was featured in DC Comics and the 1960s “Batman” television series. For years, I associated the word “freeze” with negative connotations because Mr. Freeze was such an evil character.

Nowadays, “freeze” is a word I’m grateful for because I associate it with Freeze HD, a benefit that is quickly approaching on Oct. 22.

This entertaining and emotional event features celebrities, music performances, and a silent auction. It includes testimonies about how Huntington’s disease (HD) affects patients, family members, and friends. The goal is to elevate awareness, share support, and raise money for the Huntington’s Disease Society of America (HDSA).

This year’s event will honor actor Jason Ritter and his family for their incredible efforts in the fight against HD.

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My wife, Jill, who is gene-positive with HD, and I watched last year’s virtual benefit and loved everything about it — the honesty, the touching moments, the sense of community, the hope, and the money that was raised.

A prominent ongoing presence in the annual benefit is actor Scott Porter, who has co-hosted the event in previous years. His wife, Kelsey, is gene-positive with HD. My wife was so impressed with the couple and their leadership in the fight to find a cure that she reached out to Kelsey Porter’s representative to see if we could interview her to learn more about both her and the benefit. We’re grateful that she agreed and was kind enough to email her responses.

Excerpts follow:

CB: Freeze HD is in its eighth year. When and why did you get involved? 

KP: The first Freeze HD event I attended was in 2018 on the rooftop of the NeueHouse in Hollywood. It was the first gathering or event I had ever attended regarding Huntington’s disease since finding out I have the gene in 2014, and I have never felt so supported or loved. I met people who were just like me, or knew someone just like me, or were caregivers of people with advanced HD. There was such a common thread among the attendees that, for the first time since being gene-positive, I felt supported and not hopeless. I knew I wanted to do more of that.

Other than raising money, what do you hope will happen because of events like Freeze HD? 

The obvious goal of Freeze HD is the monetary contributions, but the thing that is impactful that we don’t talk about as much is the awareness that is raised. We get people talking about something that is just not talked about that much. In the past, there has been shame or just ignorance surrounding HD, but by speaking out and making people listen, we are able to educate the world. And that is priceless.

Every year, the event seems to grow and become more successful. Why do you think that is?

It grows and is successful every year because people work tirelessly for it to do so. There are people who started the event that are still involved, like Marianna Palka and Jason Ritter, who have devoted endless hours over the past eight years. There are the workhorses who are involved year after year, like Kate Miner and my husband, Scott, who devote their time and energy to ensure its success. There are committee members who make it a point to rejoin every year so that they can put forth their efforts as well. And there is the staff at HDSA that keeps it all driving forward.

What would you like to say to all of the people involved in making the event a success?

I am beyond grateful for everyone’s involvement over the years. There are no words or expressions of gratitude that could ever thank everyone who has done so much for the event. I am so thankful for my family and friends, whose support I always count on during this time. And I am so thankful for the HD community that continues to support us as we strive to make it bigger and better every year.

What do you see for the future of Freeze HD?

I just hope to continue what people before us started. Continue to inspire and support people. Continue to raise much needed funds. And continue to create hope in what is a hopeless situation.

This year’s eighth annual Freeze HD will be held in person for the first time since 2019 at Avalon Hollywood in Los Angeles. More information about sponsorship and tickets is available here

Scott and Kelsey Porter hold hands and stand on stage at the 2019 Freeze HD event. Scott holds a microphone and looks into Kelsey's eyes.

Scott and Kelsey Porter at the fifth annual Freeze HD event in Los Angeles, in 2019. (Photo by Chris Cosentino)

Note: Huntington’s Disease News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Huntington’s Disease News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Huntington’s disease.


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