By Lynn Kotrba, executive director
Spring is finally here, the flowers are beginning to bloom, the grass has turned green and at Harvest Hope Farm that ewes are soon ready to be bringing new hope to Huntington’s Disease Research as we get ready for new lambs to be born in mid-May. It’s an exciting time at the farm. It is fitting, that as we begin to welcome new lambs to the farm in May, it is also Huntington’s Disease Awareness month.
For some of you, Huntington’s Disease has been a part of your life ever since you can remember, and you have loved ones that have suffered and died from HD. For others, you or a loved one has recently received a diagnosis for this thing called Huntington’s Disease, something that you know very little about and something that is down-right scary at first, second and third glance. Some, like myself, are at risk for HD and have lived with this reality for years, or maybe only months. Then there are those of you who know very little about HD and may not even be directly linked to someone with HD, but rather are a supportive friend of Harvest Hope Farm as a result of our mission to bring Hope to others in a variety of ways. Whatever your knowledge, connection, or experience with Huntington’s Disease, thank you for being here, thank you for caring, thank you for your continued support of Harvest Hope Farm and our mission to Harvest Hope in Others.
Since our beginning in November 2017, I have had the fortunate opportunity to meet many new people that are impacted by Huntington’s Disease. It is amazing how God puts people in your path that will impact you, just at the right time. I have said from the very beginning, there is no way we could not have done this without God’s hand on our works. God truly does have a plan! How I have connected with these people has been simply amazing. I do not believe in chance, but rather in God paving the way for these meetings. From social networking connections several people deep, to people in foreign countries seeing my blog, to friends bringing people affected by HD to our fundraisers, each meeting has been planned by God, at just the right time, to impact all involved.
Last summer, my two oldest daughters, Autumn and Hannah, and myself, had the opportunity to meet an amazing young women, by the name of Shelby Olivia Lentz. Our friends, Sue and Larry Holler, at Shepherd’s Gift for GM1, invited us down for a meet and greet with Shelby in July. The girls and I made the drive to Brookings, SD for the afternoon to meet this special young lady that Sue spoke so highly about. I wanted my girls to meet Shelby for a couple of reasons. First, Shelby is an upcoming singer and songwriter in her early 20’s. She has a dream and she is following it, not letting anything stand in her way. Second, I highly believe in providing my children with strong positive role models that they can look up to, Shelby, I believe, is one of these people. And third, Shelby is a fighter, a fighter against Huntington’s Disease. This young women, who sings from her heart, and fights like Rocky, was diagnosed with HD in 2017 at the age of 19 after learning of her dad’s diagnoses of Huntington’s Disease. On Easter Sunday 2020, just a few weeks ago, Shelby lost her fourteen year-old sister Bre to Juvenile HD.
Shelby is just one of the many amazing people that I have met in the past 30 months that is impacted by Huntington’s Disease. She is one of the people I think about daily as we continue our mission to find a cure for HD. Shelby, and every person I know that is affected by HD is in my prayers daily and always will be. That is why I have chosen to focus on HD during this month of May.
I also am pleased to announce that you will be able to hear more about Shelby’s family story of Huntington’s Disease on Saturday September 12th, 2020 when Shelby performs at our third annual Harvest Hope Farm fundraiser. We hope that you will join us then to listen to Shelby’s amazing music, support Harvest Hope Farm, and gather together to celebrate all that we have to appreciate in our lives.
Please watch for more stories and facts about Huntington’s Disease on our Facebook page throughout the month of May @harvesthopefarm
Blessings and Hugs - Lynn