Stanford freshman’s documentary chronicles Huntington’s disease decision

Freshman KRISTEN POWERS was recently featured on a CBS Sunday Morning segment on genetic disease testing. The Roble Hall resident was filmed in the residence hall’s theater and on the hiking trails around Lake Lagunita.

Powers was chosen to appear on the national television show because she is producing a documentary about her decision to get tested for Huntington’s disease, the genetic brain disorder that caused her mother’s death at age 45. Powers knew she had a 50 percent chance of inheriting the fatal disease, which causes muscle and cognitive degeneration before killing its victims.

Powers is continuing to raise funds for the documentary, called Twitch. The documentary chronicles her life as she decides to have the test that will reveal whether she has the disease.

“As a teenager overwhelmed by Huntington’s disease, I failed to find helpful resources and support systems to help me cope with the disease my mum was dying of,” Powers writes. “When she passed away and I decided to test, I still could not easily find any resources that would aid in my decision-making process.”

She added, “I set on this journey to make Twitch in order to help build the pool of resources for those affected by Huntington’s disease, especially using the powerful medium of film. No one should have to go through this disease alone, especially as a confused young teenager.”

Watch the documentary trailer on the Indiegogo website and support Powers’ efforts. The CBS Sunday Morning segment is on the program website. Powers also has been featured in a TEDxTeen presentation.