Beating the Odds of Huntington’s Disease

16 years ago, Trey Gray was diagnosed with Huntington’s Disease and given 10-15 years to live. He feels that his work as a professional drummer has helped him fight the disease.

“I’m definitely beating the odds. And that’s a good thing,” he shares. “I want to be there for people to say, ‘You can do this. You can have an okay life!'”

Video Transcript

Mishawaka, Indiana: Trey has played on multiple platinum records. Sixteen years ago, a diagnosis gave him 10-15 years to live.

Trey Gray: They sound great.

Ah, dude, look at that — pink base drum. Oh my gosh.

Setup/gig with Paul Erdman band.

Look at this.

Paul Edrman: Whaaat?

You’re going to get to watch Trey Gray tune drums.

Trey: Bringing in for the real thing.

Trey has performed with Jewel, Brooks & Dunn, Reba, Faith Hill, and more. He was diagnosed with Huntington’s in 2003.

Huntington’s disease — you know, it’s like having Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s and ALS put in a blender and mix it all up. And it’s a 10- to 15-year progressive before you die. So, I’m definitely beating the odds. And that’s a good thing. So, if I can do it anybody could do it, because I’m a procrastinator, I’m kind of lazy. I am, but I want to be there for people, to say, “You can do this. You can have an okay life. You know?”

Studio session with Valerie Ingle.

(Musicians talking and singing in the background)

I love it — it’s great. Val, what do you think?

Val Ingle: I love it.

Trey: Yeah, it’s killer, right?

Any type of oxygen you’re getting to your brain is good. And when you get your limbs moving, it helps. You get — you just, it helps.

So, with the drumming — I mean, I’m doing four limbs, sometimes, at a time — different things at a time. Imagine that in your brain — the neurons and stuff that are firing. It’s fantastic.

Val singing: You lied to me… You broke my heart… You kept playing your games while I played the part… God, I wish it was right, but this will always be wrong… I can’t keep killing myself…

Trey: I’m very blessed to be able to do this at any level. You’d be sitting a bar and they would go, “Why are doing this? You’re going to Europe tomorrow.” It’s what I love to do. I’m going to play music, hopefully until — I would love to drop dead playing music. Would that not be wonderful? I mean, come on. So, I don’t get people. I don’t get it.

(Crowd cheering and applause)

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