Why Jason Ritter Is Raising Awareness About Huntington's Disease - Exclusive

You probably recognize Jason Ritter for one of his many TV or movie appearances, be it "Freddy vs. Jason", "Parenthood", or "A Million Little Things." In recent years, he's also branched out into voice acting, even scoring a coveted role in Disney's "Frozen II." But when he's not appearing on our screens, Ritter is working hard to support the Huntington's Disease Society of America's annual Freeze HD gala, which aims to raise awareness and help fund research into the disease.

As well as co-hosting the event, which is free and takes place virtually on October 16, Ritter has donated items to an online auction in aid of the charity. "There's a Zoom call that I'll do with somebody who bids, if anybody's interested, and there'll be lots of different things," Ritter told Nicki Swift. "Ben Schwartz is going to auction off — he'll do a voice memo as Sonic the Hedgehog. ... And yeah, most of my things that I got for the online auction are from the animated universe."

Nicki Swift sat down with Jason Ritter to find out why he supports the Huntington's Disease Society of America, and how everyone can get involved with the charity's annual Freeze HD gala, which features appearances from Bryce Dallas Howard, Scott Porter, Jaime King, and more.

Jason Ritter has a personal connection to Huntington's disease

Jason Ritter has been involved in Freeze HD, the annual gala benefiting the Huntington's Disease Society of America, since its inception. Discussing his involvement with the charity, Ritter told Nicki Swift, "I was first sort of introduced to Huntington's disease in general through [actor-director-writer] Marianna Palka, who's one of the other hosts of the show, and it's something that her father had and is throughout her family. ... And she described it to me and described watching her father go from who she knew him to be ... just through this transformation."

"Then through the process of Marianna getting her diagnosis ... there was a sort of helpless feeling that we all had," Ritter continued. "And so a group of us — my sister-in-law, [production designer] Lelia Parma, was sort of the spear-header — but she and my brother and my sister and my mom and all of our friends and everybody we knew came together to put together the first Freeze HD, which we just thought was going to be a one-time big event. And we called in every favor we possibly could."

Since the first Freeze HD, the event has only gotten bigger, drawing even more supporters along the way.

Jason Ritter's hope for the future

Jason Ritter has witnessed so much progress since helping to organize the first Freeze HD gala in support of the Huntington's Disease Society of America. 

"Oh boy, the 20 years since I first knew about it through Marianna's dad, when I was 19 — now I'm 41, and they've been able to isolate the gene. They can keep future generations from getting it," Ritter told Nicki Swift. Even with all the progress made, Ritter isn't going to stop until he reaches his ultimate goal. "There have been huge sort of punches in the nose to Huntington's disease. And I'm just hoping to, in the next five years, be part of delivering the knockout punch that just gets it out of here forever and keeps a bunch of people who have been diagnosed, but are not symptomatic yet, from ever having to experience a symptom."

Jason Ritter will be co-hosting the Huntington's Disease Society of America's star-studded 7th Annual Freeze HD event and online auction on October 16, 2021.