Each year the Huntington’s Disease Society of America (HDSA) honors those who have made notable contributions to the HD community with national awards presented at the HDSA Annual Convention. This year’s awards will be presented at the Convention Gala on Saturday, June 24, 2017 in Schaumburg, Illinois.
Please take some time to consider the special achievements of any individual(s) in your HDSA Chapter or Affiliate, HDSA Center of Excellence, or community care resource like a support group leader or advocate who you think may be deserving of national recognition.
This year, the nomination form is available online at www.hdsa.org/awardsapplication. Please complete an online nomination for each outstanding individual you would like to have considered for recognition this year. You may nominate more than one person as long as each candidate has a separate nomination submission. Nominations must be submitted no later than May 16, 2017.
Awards for 2017
HDSA Person of the Year Award
The HDSA Person of the Year is our most prestigious award. The person who receives this honor is an extraordinary individual who, though affected by HD, does not let their diagnosis or disabilities prevent them from serving as a shining example of how to live positively with a chronic disease.
The HDSA Person of the Year is an advocate, a voice for HD, and a leader who faces life with courage, dignity and a fighting spirit that inspires others who are affected by HD.
Marjorie Guthrie Award
Marjorie Guthrie embodied the “can do” spirit that has made HDSA a pivotal organization in the fight against HD. She devoted her life to improving the lives of those affected by HD through legislative, community and individual action long before the gene that causes HD was discovered.
This award recognizes a member of the HD community who has, through their compassionate leadership, improved the lives of all persons living with HD either in their community or nationally.
Woody Guthrie Advocacy Award
Woody Guthrie was a social activist and storyteller who wove these two talents into a tapestry of social comment. His songs championed the ordinary folk whose lives were often embroiled in the turmoil of the times. He gave his voice so those who had none would be heard. Huntington’s disease may have robbed Woody Guthrie of his voice, but his spirit lives on in the words of many writers who were touched by his presence, his writing or his music.
This award recognizes an individual or group who embody the spirit to Woody Guthrie – who have given their voice to the fight against Huntington’s disease through their social activism, their efforts to bring awareness and their commitment to making a difference for HD families each and every day.
HD Researcher of the Year Award
In 1979, Marjorie Guthrie convinced both a President and a nation that something had to be “done” about HD and thus the very first dollars for research into neurodegenerative disease were allocated by Congress. Those dollars were critical to bringing awareness to a set of diseases that were misdiagnosed and misunderstood by both the medical profession and the families affected by them. Today, persons affected by HD are no longer “hopeless” and “helpless” because of the scientific understanding that was inspired by HDSA’s founder.
The HD Research Award is given to an individual, or group, who has increased our understanding of the biological causes of HD, whether in the lab or at the patient’s bedside, and in so doing, has brought us closer to finding effective treatments and ultimately a cure for this deadly disease.
HDSA Excellence in Care Award
HDSA is committed to ensuring that expert care is readily available for HD families until a cure is found. Care wears many faces and can be found in many different venues such as our HDSA Centers of Excellence, our HDSA social workers, and by other staff who help to problem solve the many challenges that face our families daily.
The HDSA Excellence in Care Award is our opportunity to celebrate and honor a care professional or team of professionals, who personify the word “care” through compassion, devotion to our families affected by HD and commitment to our cause.
HDSA Youth Award
Growing up in an HD family brings challenges that other youth and young adults seldom face. Many are asked to grow up quickly and assume responsibility for their parent or sibling. Many have chosen to increase awareness of the disease that may someday affect them by bringing HD into their classroom, school and community through fundraising, advocacy and education efforts.
Our youth and young adults are our leaders of tomorrow, and the HDSA Youth Award recognizes an individual who is at-risk, gene-positive or who has juvenile HD, is between the ages of 9 – 29, and who has, through their actions, demonstrated leadership and commitment to the HD community.
Juvenile HD Award
This award recognizes a young person affected by juvenile onset HD who does not allow the disease or their disability to define them but rather uses their voice to promote awareness about HD whether in their school, community or nationally.
The recipient of this award is an advocate and a leader who faces the challenges of living with JHD head on with grace, dignity and a positive outlook.
Go to www.hdsa.org/awardsapplication to access the online nominations form.