A FUN rugby tournament raised the profile of a rare disease that a Hartlepool teenager is suffering from.
Hartlepool Sixth Form College student Harry-Jon Morgan, 18, helped to organise the touch rugby competition to highlight Huntington’s Disease.
His younger sister Ellie-Mae Morgan, 16, is suffering from Juvenile Huntington’s Disease.
There are only around 100 known cases of the disease in young people in the UK as it usually does not develop until adulthood.
And there is a 50-50 chance that Harry-Jon and his sister Olivia will develop the debilitating hereditary condition at any time.
A total of 10 rugby teams from the college and across Hartlepool threw themselves into the day, held at West Hartlepool Rugby Club, in Catcote Road.
Harry-Jon, who plays rugby for the college and Billingham Rugby Club, said: “It was a great day.
“We had teams from St John’s College, High Tunstall School, Brinkburn college, West Hartlepool Rugby Club and a few more made up from members of our college.
“We raised around £160, and everyone was keen to know about the disease which was the overall aim.
“My sister came down with her carer and enjoyed the attention from all the rugby boys running around from the event.”
The event was such a success that Harry-Jon and college rugby tutor Chris Hyndman have decided to make it an annual event.
Harry-Jon added: “Even after I leave college, it will help boost the college’s support towards the families affected by the disease.
“All teams said they enjoyed themselves, even those people who haven’t even played the sport before, which reflected on the day itself.”
The money raised will go to the Huntington’s Disease Association which supports people affected by the disease and provides information and advice to professionals.
There is currently no cure for the disease which is a disorder of the central nervous system.
Symptoms can include gradual loss of mobility and speech.
Ellie-Mae inherited the rogue gene from her biological dad and grandfather who have also got the disease but it did not affect them until much later in life.
Her condition has rapidly deteriorated over the last year after she was diagnosed in March 2012.