LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – There’s a rare brain disorder that leads to death within just one year after people first begin experiencing symptoms.

Jay Mitzner and his wife Carole Colburn got married in 1999. She calls their marriage the best 23 years of her life.

Mitzner lived a full life. He practiced law for more than 50 years in mid-Michigan and was a professional musician, among many other things.

But last year in May, his life was cut short.

“At the end of April, he suddenly started feeling fuzz in his brain and he couldn’t really explain it and we had no idea what it was, took him to the ER and one of the doctors there said it could be Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease to which we both said what is that?” Colburn said.

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is a rare, rapidly worsening brain disorder that causes unique changes in brain tissue and affects muscle coordination thinking, and memory.

There are about 350 cases per year in the U.S.

“I liken it to Alzheimer’s on steroids to the tenth power,” Colburn said.

After weeks of symptoms, Mitzner died just eight days after he was diagnosed at the age of 77.

Colburn said her life’s mission is to raise awareness and funds for research to find a cure.

That’s why she hosted the Night to Remember Jay fundraiser event in Mason, featuring tunes by the Bayou River Band, Jay’s band.

“Hold your loved ones tight,” Colburn said. “You never know when something can happen.”

According to the Mayo Clinic, some people can develop the disease for no reason, others inherit it or because contaminated instruments were used during a medical procedure.