Welcome to the Patrice Marie Haggerty Memorial CJD Fund

About Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease

What is CJD?


Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) is a rare, degenerative, invariably fatal brain disorder. It affects about one person in every one million people per year worldwide; in the United States there are about 300 cases per year. CJD usually appears in later life and runs a rapid course. Typically, onset of symptoms occurs about age 60, and about 90 percent of individuals die within 1 year. In the early stages of disease, people may have failing memory, behavioral changes, lack of coordination and visual disturbances. As the illness progresses, mental deterioration becomes pronounced and involuntary movements, blindness, weakness of extremities, and coma may occur.  (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke)


As stated by Medical News Today: "CJD is a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) that destroys the brain over time. It is caused by an infectious agent, called a prion. A prion is not a virus or bacteria."


There is not currently any cure, treatment or even a means to slow down the progression of CJD.  Since CJD is often a footnote in medical texts, medical professionals often are late to diagnose the disease if they ever seriously consider it at all - leading to the perception that the disease is more rare than it likely is.  And since it is seen to be a one-in-a-million disease since their are so few successful diagnoses, little is being done to research it.  And mastering treatments for CJD will likely result in the cures for other less immediately damning (yet quite severe) neurological disorders like MS, Parkinson's, Lewy Body Dementia, ALS, and Alzheimer's.


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