Crescent Manor staff raise money for Huntington's research

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BENNINGTON — Staff from Crescent Manor Rehabilitation got drenched for a good cause on Monday as they were sprayed with a fire hose to raise money for Huntington's Disease research.

Huntington's Program Coordinator Kahea Ruebel said that proceeds from the event would go toward the Vermont Team Hope Walk in Burlington on Sept. 30, which raises money for the Huntington's Disease Society of America. The event itself is part of the #HDBlueHoseChallenge fundraising campaign, in which participants volunteer to get sprayed with hoses in exchange for donations that will go towards Huntington's Research.

Ruebel and her co-workers, speech pathologist Nora Robado, Activities Director Marjorie LaFountain, and Administrator Mike Rivers, weren't sprayed with just your average garden hose, however. The Bennington Village Fire Department was happy to provide one of their trucks to do the deed. Residents from the program watched as the staff were soaked from above.

"It wasn't even that cold!" said Ruebel afterward, wrapped in a towel. The event had been rescheduled twice due to rain, but Monday's temperature was in the 70s, with not a cloud in the sky.

Denise Hollister, Crescent Manor's south manager, read a brief address before her co-workers completed the challenge. "Here at Crescent Manor we accepted the HD Hose Challenge," she said. "We are the only certified HD facility in the state of Vermont, and we fight for a cure against HD because no one fights alone."

As Monday was the 16th anniversary of September 11, a flag was hung from the firetruck's ladder in remembrance.

Huntington's Disease causes neurons in the brain to degenerate, explained Hollister, which can result in problems with movement, emotions, and thought process. As a progressive disease, the symptoms of Huntington's worsen over time. Symptoms usually begin to occur between the ages of 35-42, but can manifest before age 20 or after age 50 in some cases. Huntington's is hereditary, and every child of a parent with HD has a 50 percent chance of inheriting the disease themselves. While some of the symptoms of the disease can be treated, there is no cure.

"Crescent Manor is the only long-term facility in Vermont licensed by the State to provide specialized care for individuals with Huntington s Disease," according to their website. "The program at Crescent Manor is tailored to meet the individual needs of each resident and designed to help preserve the highest possible level of physical and psycho-social function."

Reach staff writer Derek Carson at 802-447-7567, ext. 122 or @DerekCarsonBB

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