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TNT’s Allie LaForce and Husband Joe Smith Find Houston Still Has a Giant Heart — Astros Hit a Home Run For Former Teammate

Fighting Huntington's Disease With Love and a Record $525,000

BY // 08.16.22

TNT sports sideline reporter Allie LaForce and MLB free agent pitcher Joe Smith had more than half a million dollars to celebrate during their HelpCureHD fundraiser at Minute Maid Park’s Union Station. The former Houston Astros reliever and his wife are due to have their first child in November. And therein lies the story of this momentous fundraiser.

Smith’s mother suffered and eventually lost her life, before her time, from debilitating Huntington’s disease or HD. The disease has a 50 percent genetic propensity of being passed on to the next generation. This inspired the Smiths to found HelpCureHD. This sporty couple have long been dedicated to saving their future children and the children of others from such a fate.

The first-ever HelpCureHD fundraiser was held at Tootsies in 2018 and subsequent events in Houston were also chaired by LaForce and Smith. Although Cleveland, Ohio, is their home, the couple has enjoyed exceptional support in their efforts from Houston and by the works of Houston-based Dr. Erin Furr-Stimming, a neurologist with clinical expertise is evaluating and treating patients with Huntington’s disease, and Dr. Dottie Roach, a specialist in fertility.

The Minute Maid Park evening raised a record $525,000, happy news for LaForce and Smith for whom the foundation’s mission is their mission. The funds are earmarked for research into a cure for Huntington’s disease and for grants to cover the costs of PGD-IVF (pre-implantation genetic diagnosis and in vitro fertilization) services that aid couples who have the possibility of passing HD to future generations. To date, 18 Huntington’s disease-free babies have been born through the foundation with seven more families, including the Smiths, pregnant with HD-free babies.

Ryan and Kat Pressly photo by Daniel Ortiz
Houston Astro Ryan Pressly & wife Kat at the HelpCureHD fundraiser at Minute Maid Park. (Photo by Daniel Ortiz)

Astros joining in support of the cause were team owner Jim Crane and wife Whitney, right fielder Kyle Tucker, closer Ryan Pressly and his wife Kat, former Astro (and current Oakland A) Tony Kemp, Astros senior vice president executive operations Jared Crane and his wife Adrienne, Astros sidelines reporter Julia Morales, and Astros vet and MLB Hall of Famer Jeff Bagwell and his wife Rachel.

LaForce and Smith will also be conducting fundraisers for the national HelpCureHD organization in California, in Florida and in their shared home state of Ohio.

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