Rare Disease Report

Crowd of 1,700 Comforted by Pope Francis' Comments on HD

MAY 18, 2017
Mathew Shanley
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Matthew 5:3-12 was brought to fruition on Thursday morning, when Pope Francis embraced, both physically and emotionally, 150 Huntington’s disease patients in the Vatican audience hall. The meeting marked the first time a world leader recognized the difficulty faced by those suffering from HD.

HD is fatal, and causes the progressive breakdown of nerve cells in the brain. It depreciates the physical and mental abilities of patients. Per Medical News Today, in the U.S. alone, there are an estimated 30,000 diagnosed patients; there are more than 150,000 Americans with a 50% risk of inheriting the disease.

In an effort to remove the stigma of the incurable hereditary disorder, Pope Francis spoke words of comfort to weeping parents and children.

 "May none of you ever feel you are alone," he told the crowd of about 1,700. "May none of you feel you are a burden. May no one feel the need to run away. You are precious in the eyes of God. You are precious in the eyes of the church."

The video of Pope Francis speaking to those suffering from Huntington's disease and their families is below:

Image courtesy of the NY Daily News.

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