50/50: John Paul Jr. and His Battle with Huntington’s Disease

50/50: John Paul Jr. and His Battle with Huntington’s Disease
By Sylvia Wilkinson

Initially described as “hopeless” by a professional driving instructor, John Paul Jr.’s driving career began in 1979 driving Formula Fords. The following year he joined his controversial father’s racing team as co-driver in the IMSA series. After only two years of competing, John Paul Jr. started the 1982 season with back-to-back wins
at Daytona and Sebring, and by the end of the season, he had clinched the championship at the age

of 22 becoming IMSA’s youngest champion. He won the Michigan 500 CART race in 1983, followed by a second-place finish at Le Mans in 1984. Additionally, John Paul Jr competed in the Indianapolis 500 seven times. Symptoms of the neurodegenerative disorder Huntington’s disease began to appear at age 39, and John Paul Jr. began his fight against this deadly disease. This book chronicles John Paul Jr.’s life story and his continuing battle with Huntington’s. All profits from “50/50 -The Story of Champion Race Car Driver John Paul Jr and His Battle with Huntington’s Disease” will go to John Paul Jr.’s funds to fight Huntington’s disease, (all proceeds go to UCLA Neurology, Dr. Perlman’s research), please order it from www.JohnMortonRacing.net/5050. You will need to fill out a form online, and Sylvia will reach out to you to complete the order.  


Dr. Susan Perlman’s Huntington’s disease research Updates:  March 5, 2018

The UCLA Huntington’s Disease Center of Excellence continues to be the largest clinical research center for Huntington’s Disease west of the Mississippi River. Under the leadership of Susan Perlman, M.D., they provide consultation, clinical care, and clinical research opportunities to over 200 patients and families living with HD. They continue to collaborate with an international research consortium for HD in the investigation of the natural history of HD and in the development of new biomarkers to track disease progression and improvement. They have worked with a national consortium on better ways to support the caregivers. This past year, they completed two trials of new drugs for HD and are now in the middle of a third trial. The basic research lab is exploring a new possible disease modifying drug. They are currently working with two companies that have neuroprotective drugs that could be tried in HD. They are on the threshold of trials for drugs that could block the HD gene and make HD a treatable disease.


Dr. Perlman and her team cannot thank John Paul, Jr., enough for his advocacy on behalf of the HD community. John is an incredible person who inspired a movement worldwide to raise awareness and funds for Huntington’s disease research.

HOW CAN YOU HELP send  donations to: 

John Paul Jr Huntington's Disease Foundation

@ 6526 S. Kanner Hwy. PMB 284

Stuart, Florida  34997

At one time John Paul Jr. was among the nation's top professional race car drivers, in 2001 he had to retire from racing when he noticed that his car would not respond the way he thought his hands and feet were telling it to while driving. He was diagnosed with Huntington's Disease, a progressive neurological disorder.

“It was starting to invade my racing,” John Paul Jr. recalls. “I was having to actually talk my way around the track. I was having to tell myself to turn, accelerate, brake, instead of it just flowing.”

Huntington's disease is a genetic disorder that causes degeneration of cells in certain areas of the brain, leading to uncontrolled movements, loss of intellectual faculties and emotional disturbance. John Paul's grandmother and mother also had the disease.

But the recent discovery of the Huntington gene – a mutation of one gene that sets in motion an attack deep within the area of the brain called the basal ganglia – offers hope for those with Huntington's disease as well as patient's with other neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease.

“As we develop better understanding for what's causing Huntington's Disease, targeted approaches can be made to stop the problems from happening, with the ultimate goal to delay the onset or the progression of the disease, to stop the damage from happening,” says UCLA neurologist Yvette Bordelon, M.D., Ph.D., a member of the UCLA Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Studies. “A few years after the gene had been found, there were maybe three human clinical trials that had been done or were being conducted in Huntington's disease. Now there are 21.”

John Paul's hope is that new discoveries will come in time to help his own children, who, like him, may have inherited the defective gene from their parent. "That would be his ultimate winning race", says his half-sister, AJ Paul.

Or for more information about HD go to 

HSR Tribute to John Paul Jr


John Paul Jr. Fund

John is part of a clinical study program at UCLA. His major concern and hope is to help with the advancement of finding a cure for Huntington's Disease.  Not only could this help him, but more importantly it will help the future of his children and other children in the future.  Huntington's Disease has some similarities with Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, and other neurodegenerative disorders. Huntington's disease is unique, however, in that the gene that causes the disease has been identified. This makes research on Huntington's disease even more important in the field of nuerological disorders as genetic medicine becomes more and more of a reality. Developing better treatments and finding a cure for Huntington's disease will be vital for improving treatments and curing other conditions too, like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease.

Send  donations to

John Paul Jr Huntington's Disease Foundation

@ 6526 S. Kanner Hwy. PMB 284

Stuart, Florida  34997



This site was designed with the
website builder. Create your website today.
Start Now