by KELLEY GUSICH | photo by Mark Hopkins Photography

Finding Her Center

f_hill002 It presents someone with only one parent having HD a 50% risk of having HD, no skipping generations. Jennifer Hill’s motivation to help others deal with this terminal illness came from her experience with her mother who suffered from HD. At 25, it was confirmed that Jennifer had the disease as well. She is now 33. “I always say it is as if HD mirrors all symptoms of ALS, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s,” she explained. “Patients lose the ability to think or reason, talk, or walk, basically all daily functioning.” When Jennifer got tested for HD, she knew she wanted to be the “survivor,” not the “victim.” She felt called to use her time to help the population that needed her most, especially children and teens who have similar struggles she has dealt with in her life.


Name: Jennifer Hill
Community: Carlsbad
Profession: Mental health counselor
Favorite Places in Carlsbad: The Village, Park 101, my gym
Get Involved: www.san-diego.hdsa.org


Jennifer worked thousands of hours and earned several degrees to become licensed as an LPCC, which stands for licensed professional clinical counselor. She opened her practice two years ago. “I am also on the board of directors with the Huntington’s Disease Society of America, which can seem like a full time job on top of my mental health business,” she said. The society has many events throughout the year and is always getting the North County and downtown San Diego communities involved.

Since she got tested, Jennifer confirmed, “I have learned to appreciate every day I have. I have become more connected to God.” Her bucket list of things to accomplish before the symptoms take over her ability to function has already begun. It included sky diving, getting a tattoo, going to Europe, and starting her mental health practice to help children. She continues to work toward other items on the list, including trying to adopt a child to avoid passing the gene to a biological child. The abundance of supportive people in her Carlsbad community has been one source of strength. “My father and I are very close,” Jennifer affirmed. “He has been my rock and a stable foundation when my life circumstances seem scary.” She keeps active when she can, and prays keeping her mind and body healthy will allow her to continue her energetic and inspirational lifestyle as much as possible. To learn more about HD visit www.san-diego.hdsa.org.