Monday, April 22, 2013

Lawn Mower Racing for Huntington Disease Awareness

Jim and Donna Mikula are the owners of Four Season's  Yard & Sports Equipment in Comstock Park and they share a passion.  Their passion is eradicating Huntington's Disease and bringing awareness to this terrible disease. Jim Mikula is well aware of the disease which has claimed the lives of six of his siblings.

Huntington Disease is inherited and causes certain nerve cells in the brain and central nervous system to degenerate. Loss of these nerve cells causes symptoms such as behavior changes, unusual, snake-like movements (chorea), uncontrolled movement, difficulty walking, loss of memory, speech and cognitive functions and difficulty in swallowing. Treatment aims to limit the course of the disease. There is an adult-onset Huntington’s Disease (HD), which is most common and usually develops when a person is in the 30’s and 40’s. There is also an early-onset form which begins in childhood. HD is an autosomal dominant disorder, meaning that if one parent has HD, you have a 50% chance of having the disease—and if you inherited the gene, you will develop the disease and can pass it on to your own children. 

Over time, HD affects the individual’s ability to reason, walk and speak.

One way the Mikulas are bringing attention to this dreaded disease is by sponsoring Lawnmower races in Sparta Michigan and becoming involved in other races nation wide.  Jim and Donna sponsor a Lawnmower Race in Sparta each year that draws national attention. Recently an award winning movie was produced covering the sport, and with it, awareness to Huntington Disease.  Their son Jayson won a number of National Championships.  The event has raised over $100,000 for the Huntington Disease Association of America, and the Mikulas are modest to point out that every donation for the event is turned over and that the entire cost of the race is covered by them.

Last Thursday they brought their program to the Comstock Park Rotary.  In addition to donating, we can all help victims of H.D by supporting the The Huntington's Disease Parity Act is  If enacted into law, it would make it easier for people with HD to receive Social Security disability and Medicare benefits.  Please contact your congressman.

More information can be found at

For those interested in the Lawn Mower Race, it occurs the third Saturday of May at the Sparta Airport.
Jim and Donna Mikula

Also at the Rotary meeting, Assistant Governor Violet had the opportunity to swear in the newest Comstock Park Rotarian Brett Meyer.

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