Frances Saldana

Huntington’s Disease
President, HD-CARE
UC Irvine Mind Support Organization

Years ago, Frances lost her husband to Huntington’s Disease (HD). In a devastating series of events, Frances lost her youngest daughter, Marie, to the dreaded disease in 2009; and her second daughter, Margie, in 2014. Her third and only remaining child, Michael, is fully symptomatic and in the last stages of the disease. Her grandchildren have a 50 percent chance of inheriting the cruel disease.

Many, if not most, would have been overcome by anger or grief when faced with suffering. Instead, Frances has refocused her pain to help others, through the founding of HD-CARE: the UC Irvine-registered support organization that supports HD research and the HD clinic at the UC Irvine Mind Support Organization. She also established the Huntington’s Disease Society of America (HDSA) Orange County Affiliate, which later became an official HDSA Chapter. Frances’ drive, energy and passion for research have drawn many people into the community, and created a strong epicenter of support and advocacy.

It’s people like Frances whose strength and optimism create a better world. Frances is constantly fighting for a better future—a future without Huntington’s disease—while also living in the present and helping those currently impacted by the disease.

Americans for Cures wants to continue to fund stem cell research that may increase scientific understanding of Huntington’s disease, as well as possible ways to defeat it. This research provides hope and optimism for the HD community, and for people like Frances.

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