THOMASVILLE, N.C. -- When you look at Tammy Hanner, the first thing you'll notice is her beaming smile, then her infectious laugh. You'd never know she's been battling a deadly disease for 13 years.
"I think she took it a whole lot better than I took it," Tammy's husband, Steve, said. "She met it head on and has been fighting it ever since."
At 43 years old, Tammy was diagnosed with Huntington's disease, just like her father before her. Steve describes the disease as a mixture of ALS, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, which for most would be unimaginable, but Steve says his wife doesn't let it slow her down.
She spends many of her days raising awareness for Huntington's, by walking in local benefit walks, holding fundraisers of her own and attending support groups. This year, for Thomasville's Christmas parade, she even had the idea to decorate and ride in her golf cart, all in the name of the disease.
Her efforts won't go unnoticed: the mayor of Thomasville named Nov. 2 "Huntington's Awareness Day" in honor of Tammy on her birthday.
"I'm proud," Steve said on Monday. "This isn't always going to be a smooth road, but having days like tomorrow, it's just awesome."
For her birthday, Tammy plans to go grab a cheese biscuit from her favorite fast-food restaurant, meet with friends, then head to the ceremony that begins at 2 p.m. in downtown Thomasville. Of course, she'll be surrounded by family -- two sons, two daughter-in-laws and four grandchildren -- to celebrate the momentous day.
For more information on Huntington's disease, click here.