Our Mission: Helping Huntington’s Disease Families Find Resources
HD Support & Care Network continues a tradition of dedication to the needs of HD families that began in 2010, but has roots stretching back through a tragic family history.
Discovering the Challenges
HDSCN founder Melissa Biliardi discovered the devastating challenges of HD when her eldest son James began showing symptoms and was eventually tested and diagnosed with the disease that had debilitated his father, and his father’s father, and would ultimately lead to the death of Melissa’s youngest son Raymond. In Melissa’s search for information, support and care for her own sons, she discovered her life’s mission: Helping Huntington’s Disease families find resources.
Beginning the Network
After many months of research to find resources and locate HD families in her local community, Melissa was inspired to organize the first Symposium and CME training for Huntington’s disease held in Santa Maria, California, in May 2010. Shortly afterward, she founded the HD Support Group of Santa Maria Association, which began serving the needs of HD families in the tri-county area. That November, Melissa began the first online radio show for the HD community, Help4HD, and ultimately produced 230 Help4HD radio shows in the next six years.
Creating Service Programs
Melissa’s contacts within the HD community expanded and in 2013 she transformed the association into a nonprofit called Help4HD International, Inc., a 501c3 public charity. As Founder of Help4HD International and through six years in leadership positions, Melissa created a wealth of support and outreach programs to provide relief to the HD and Juvenile HD community, support clinical trials, raise awareness and funds, educate law enforcement and other public agencies, and much more.
Connecting the Network
Throughout those years, Melissa was the caregiver for her surviving son James, and learned first-hand how much intensive case management was involved. Her network of resources, referrals, in-home and out-patient medical care, social services and government agencies within the HD community grew exponentially. She realized there was a better way to connect that network to the HD families who need it.
Focusing on HD Families
In 2016, Melissa resigned from Help4HD International to focus on helping HD families find the best possible support services, care professionals and community services, and HD Support & Care Network was born.