Courtney Brewer is a fellow alumnus from my same class and high school. As our reunion approached, we reconnected and I’m so happy we did because I feel privileged to get to bring this show to you. Instead of talking about Courtney’s career journey – which, admittedly, we do a very little bit – we focus on her renewed purpose: Advocacy work.
Courtney lost her dad just over a year ago to Huntington’s Disease, which the Mayo Clinic describes as “a rare, inherited disease that causes the progressive breakdown (degeneration) of nerve cells in the brain. Huntington’s disease has a broad impact on a person’s functional abilities and usually results in movement, thinking (cognitive) and psychiatric disorders.” Courtney puts it even more bluntly in the episode when she describes it as “Parkinson’s, ALS, and dementia” all at the same time.
On this week’s show, Courtney breaks down Huntington’s Disease for me, shares her dad’s decline, and ultimately his end with great candor, warmth, and insight. We also talk about “dying with dignity,” or assisted suicide. It’s an episode with intense themes and frank talk about issues we generally don’t get to discuss in much detail. I argue that we should, and that we owe it to ourselves to have candid discussions about these issues, and I feel incredibly grateful that Courtney was willing to be so honest with me in a public forum like this.
Be sure to check out Rocky Mountain Movement Disorders Center and support the incredible work they’re doing with Huntington’s Disease and other diseases.