Posted: Jun 21, 2012 12:30 PM by Lacey Steele
Updated: Jun 21, 2012 12:42 PM
Huntington's disease is a brain disorder that affects a person's ability to think, talk, and move.
Here's more in today's Your Healthy Family.
About one in 30,000 Americans have the disease and it profoundly affects the lives of entire families emotionally, socially, and economically.
Here's one teenager who is exceeding expectations every day.
If you spend one day with him, you will definitely want to get to know Terry Leach from California.
On first impression, this 14-year-old clearly has some challenges in life.
"To see him decline, that has to be the hardest part," said his mom.
Terry's mom brings around a picture board to show people it hasn't always been this way.
"When people meet Terry, they think he's always been in a wheelchair, but he used to be able to run, and play and ride a 2 wheel bicycle at 2 years old," said his mom.
The symptoms started at age 5.
Terry has Huntington's disease.
"It's extremely rare," his mom said.
It's an incredibly heart breaking disease to watch, especially for those closest.
"It's kinda hard because it gets worse," said his younger brother.
If you only know his challenges, his family would point out, you don't really know Terry.
"He likes Facebook," his mom joked.
"He's a great brother, ya," said his brother.
"A's and B's, on the principals honor role and he's mainstream for all his classes," his mom added.
"I think he's an amazing young man," said his closest teacher.
Terry's teacher would tell you not only is he one of the smartest, but the most popular kids in class.
"If he's not here, everybody wants to know where he's at and why he's not at school, and when is he coming back, and he is definitely the highlight of our classroom," she said.
There is no cure to what Terry suffers from, but if you'd never know it if you got to know Terry Leach.
"And he's always happy, and always wants to hug," his mom said. "He's my angel."
There are two forms of Huntington's disease.
The most common appears in adults in their 30's and 40s, but the other form happens in a smaller number of cases and appears during childhood, like with Terry.