(Picture of: A young Catie and her loving mom, Carrie Cooper)
Meet the youngest event chair in our Pacific West Region – Catie Cooper! Catie started volunteering in 2023 when her brother, Jack, hosted a hockey event for HDSA. That same year, she created her own event - HIIT HD Back - as a way to bring together the southern Oregon HD community, educate college students at the University of Oregon, and unexpectedly turned grief into her life’s purpose.

In her own words: “I created this event to raise awareness and funds for Huntington’s disease. I lost my mom on March 23rd, 2023 to the disease. I wanted to do something to carry on her legacy and fight for the future. Supporting this event is not only a fight for Carrie Cooper's legacy but it fights for the future of everyone faced with Huntington’s.”

She remembers her mother as “the life of the party and always the happiest person in the room, I think that is where I got my spark from”. Catie created an event that is equal parts educational and fun, and continues to find ways to honor her mother’s spirit throughout the event. HIIT HD Back is a movement-based fundraiser focused on raising funds, awareness, and all attendees’ endorphins(!), too. Now in its second year, she has expanded the event’s reach to include new community partnerships and members in Eugene and surrounding areas. She throws in her own flair, is incredibly innovative when utilizing social media, and is deeply devoted to our mission. It’s so inspiring to see her take on this role with ease, and at such a young age, all while being enrolled as a full-time student involved in many extracurricular activities.

When asked to expand on her “why”, she notes “I am just trying to be a voice for other kids that are in my position”. Through volunteering, Catie has found her voice and amplified it tenfold; she is even in the process of getting an HD club started at her school in an effort to raise awareness amongst her classmates and the university at large. We are so grateful that she has brought her spark to HDSA, it has ignited such an impactful movement in her local community.

​Join Catie on Saturday, May 4th as she kicks off HD Awareness Month with her HIIT HD Back event, yoga modifications will be provided!