Connect with us:

By Ana Torrea (

REDDING, Calif. - Living through a pandemic is already tough, but imagine being a teenager with a genetic condition.

Bella Licata is a freshman at Shasta High School. One of the things she looked forward to about freshmen year, was seeing all her friends but also meeting new people.

Bella enjoys cheerleading and has dreams of exploring the world one day.

“I want to go to so many places,” said Bella. “I want to go to Paris, Thailand. I want to go to Thailand so badly. Also Italy, Japan, China.”

But Bella suffers from Juvenile Onset Huntington's Disease, which is a disease that attacks the nerve cells in the brain.

“It's an incurable disease,” said Holly Matthews, Bella’s mother.

“With children, it ramps up really fast, so you don't know what you're going to do. We just thought we wanted to make memories.”

“I don't know how much time I'll have left and I want to live it up,” said Bella.

Despite living with JHD, there's also the coronavirus pandemic. Bella’s family took extra precautions and learned to adapt to the changes.

“We were worried initially about her a lot because we don't know what it means for someone with Huntington's disease to get Covid so it's just an added layer,” said Holly.

“We definitely took a lot of precautions, especially in the beginning.”

But Bella’s not giving up and has a message for everyone during this tough time.

“Just live your life no matter what, and what you want to do, just do it,” said Bella.

Bella and her family used to meet with a team at UC Davis specializing in Huntington's Disease in person but now due to Covid-19, they have virtual calls.