Huntington's disease affects muscle coordination and leads to cognitive decline. Jason Evans of Corvallis has been hiking the Pacific Crest Trail for over three months and has raised more than $5,000 to raise awareness of the disease.
"There's something about the wilderness," Evans said Friday. "It's in many ways our cathedral. It's that place where we most closely connect with that which is greater than ourselves."
For Evans, that connection is with Huntington's disease. Evans, who has the disease, felt obligated to do something for the cause.
"The opportunity to pin the cause to my heart, and to combine that with my dream of hiking the Pacific Crest Trail was something I couldn't pass up when I finally had the opportunity," Evans said.
According to Evans, the research done on Huntington's disease overlaps with other diseases.
"Funds that are collected by HDSA (Huntington's Disease Society of America), support research that develop cures for Parkinson's, ALS, Alzheimer's and any number of neurological disorders," Evans said.
With the combination of helping others and enjoying the outdoors, he said the three-month journey has been one he won't forget.
"Having the chance to explore every nuance of this great outdoors is an experience that will live with me forever," Evans said.
Successive generations have a 50 percent chance of carrying the mutated Huntington's disease when their parent is a carrier. Because Evans carries the gene, his two boys have a 50 percent chance of carrying it too.
He expects to finish the hike in mid-September.
To learn more about Evans and his cause, visit: http://www.hdsa.org/about/faces-of-hd/meet-kima/meet-jason.html.