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A Glasgow writer has become the first winner of a short story competition designed to raise awareness of the degenerative neurological condition Huntington’s Disease (HD).

Claire Hamilton Russell from Anniesland won £500 for her entry to the flash fiction competition Writing out of the HD Shadow, organised by the Scottish Huntington’s Association (SHA).

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Scottish authors Alan Bissett and Michael Malone judged the competition and said they were impressed by the quality of the entries.

Alan said Claire’s story had captured the impact of an HD diagnosis on families.

He said: “It is very difficult to tell a story in such a few words and I think Claire has really captured something special with her entry, but all the shortlisted stories were of a very high calibre.”

He added: “This competition has really succeeded in getting a lot of people thinking about HD.”

The competition received more than 130 entries from all over Scotland and from as far afield as New Zealand and the USA.

SHA is the only charity in the country supporting families with HD, which is an incurable genetic brain disorder.

It causes three main groups of symptoms - changes to thinking processes - a type of early onset dementia; loss of muscle control and involuntary movements which lead to loss of speech; and mental illness.

As it progresses, those affected will need 24-hour care. HD is hereditary with each child of those diagnosed facing a 50 per cent risk of developing the disease.

It is estimated there are around 1100 people living with HD in Scotland and about 5000 potentially at risk.

Claire said: “I have genetic conditions myself and a friend of mine’s family had the misfortune to be severely affected by HD so I was aware of the impact it can have.

“By entering I just wanted to spread the word of how devastating a condition it can be and to increase understanding. Winning was just a bonus.”

SHA works with HD families providing lifeline services, including specialist nurses, the world’s only HD youth support service and a financial wellbeing team.

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Chief executive John Eden said: “HD is a neurological condition that is still hidden in the shadows and we wanted to use the power of storytelling to raise awareness of the terrible toll it takes, not just on those directly affected but on whole families.

“The response has been fantastic and I’d like to thank everyone who took part.”