Teen girls with Tourette’s work to raise awareness in NJ
This article is part of New Jersey 101.5's What's So Great About the Garden State series.
The last time we touched base with the New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome and Associated Disorders, the organization was wrapping up its 5K series, NJ Walks for TS, for 2015. Now with the arrival of spring and warmer weather, NJCTS is back at it again, hosting its first walk of the year Sunday, April 3, in Mercer County.
To help promote NJ Walks for TS at Princeton, which will be held at Mercer County Park in West Windsor, the group has enlisted the help of youth advocates as co-chairs for the event. Nicole Greco, a NJCTS spokeswoman, said the advocates are mostly teenage girls who have been distributing flyers and seeking out Princeton-area businesses for sponsorships.
"These are young women with Tourette syndrome," Greco said. "They are so poised, they are mature beyond their years, and they're working hard."
One of the girls recently described how her experience in helping to put the event together might serve to change perceptions about those with the neurological disorder, which is characterized by repetitive, involuntary tics.
"Someday soon, a kid with Tourette syndrome will have no problem making friends, and won't even have to explain their diagnosis and their condition," she said, according to Greco, "because their (friends) and teachers and doctors would have already learned about Tourette syndrome. It wouldn't be a mystery anymore."
In 2015, NJCTS successfully organized its first South Jersey walk, in Medford Lakes. Their flagship event remains NJ Walks for TS at Mendham, but Sunday marks the third annual 5K in Princeton.
"It really truly is a statewide effort and a statewide movement on behalf of the 1 in 100 New Jersey children with Tourette syndrome and its associated disorders," Greco said, adding that NJCTS uses all of the proceeds for education outreach. "These programs allow us to go into schools and hospitals and train clinicians, doctors, nurses, social workers, teachers and students."
On-site registration for the rain-or-shine event begins 1 p.m. on Sunday. New Jersey 101.5 will be among the outside groups in attendance. For more information, go to www.njcts.org or call 908-575-7350.
Patrick Lavery is a news producer, reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. Follow him on Twitter @plavery1015 or email email@example.com.