Kelpies illumination has a message for the world

Falkirk's Kelpies were this week transformed into an iridescent beacon of support for families struggling to cope with a terrible disease.

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 20th May 2017, 3:37 pm
Updated Sunday, 4th June 2017, 9:43 pm

The town’s landmark public art masterpiece was one of an elite band of iconic sites chosen for a special international Huntingdon’s Day Awareness Week stunt.

The famous giant horses’ heads glowed in lustrous purple and blue – the colours of the Huntingdon’s Disease (HD) campaign – to show support for families affected by the condition.

The spectacular Kelpies illumination was coordinated by the Scottish Huntington’s Association (SHA), the only charity in the country supporting families affected by HD.

Sharing the Scottish honours in the project was the Titan Crane in Clydebank.

HD is an incurable genetic neurological disorder that usually starts between the ages of 30 and 50.

Around 1,100 people in Scotland have the disease, and about another 5,000 are at risk.

It causes three main groups of symptoms – changes to thinking processes – a type of early onset dementia; loss of muscle control and involuntary movements which lead to loss of speech and swallow; and mental illness.

As it progresses those affected need 24 hour care.

It is also hereditary, and each child of those diagnosed has a 50-50 chance of also developing the disease.

Nor is there any cure.

The SHA supports families living with HD through a team of HD specialists, the world’s only HD youth support team and a financial wellbeing helpdesk.

SHA chief executive, John Eden said: “The Kelpies and the Titan Crane are both instantly recognised landmarks, so we were delighted when they both agreed to take part in ‘Light Up 4 HD’. I

“It is still a condition that is still widely misunderstood, so it’s hugely significant for us to secure such great support in spreading the word about the impact it can have on people’s lives.”

He added: “This was a global initiative with countries in North America and all over Europe taking part, so it’s brilliant the Kelpies could add Scotland’s voice to raising awareness of this devastating condition.”