The day after my son, Pedro, turned seven I walked into the living room as he was watching TV and I stopped in shock. He seemed to be convulsing and having what looked to us like a seizure. Pedro’s body would not stop shaking uncontrollably. That night we ended up in the ER at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago. After many hours of waiting, my son fi nally fell asleep in my arms and all the twitching came to a stop. It was then that his doctor mentioned the words that would change our family’s lives forever, Tourette Syndrome (TS).
This was the first time in our lives we heard those words. What did a diagnosis of TS mean? How was my son’s life going to be moving forward? Could he continue to go to school? I had no answers; just an incredible sense of despair.
I cried for hours without knowing what to do, where to begin or what steps to take. That is when I came across the Tourette Association of America. Because of their dedication to advancing scientific research and medical treatments, raising awareness and providing the support and guidance my son and I desperately needed, I immediately became a member.
My hope came back and even though I knew the future was going to be a big CHALLENGE, I found the help I would need to get through it. The Tourette Association of America (TAA) has helped us navigate this very misunderstood condition. Their resources and support provide peace of mind to so many in need, knowing there is a place to turn when answers and guidance are needed. Please consider making a gift or becoming a member of the TAA today to help families like ours.
Through the TAA’s website, I found a support group in my area and, for the fi rst time, I met other children and adults living with TS. I found compassionate doctors who cared about my son’s well-being. I found resources to share with the teachers at school so they could understand what Tourette is.
Since joining the TAA 8 years ago, my son has become a TAA Youth Ambassador (YA) representing the State of Illinois. What
an honor it has been to see him become the teenager he is today. The YA program gave him a sense of purpose and a reason to continue helping, not just himself, but also other children with Tourette. It showed him that anything is possible.
My son is now sixteen years old and life is not easy. His tics are more prominent now after hitting puberty. Anxiety, lack of
focus, and some signs of obsessive-compulsive disorders are all starting to emerge. The tics are constantly changing and never
give him a break. Nevertheless, every day, he wakes up and goes to school proud. He accepts his tics and does not let Tourette
Syndrome define who he is.
I am truly proud to be a member of such an amazing organization. Please help the Tourette Association of America continue its mission to make life better for all those who live with Tourette Syndrome and other Tic Disorders. Your gift and membership plays a critical role in making a difference and helps the TAA continue to provide help and hope to those who need it.
Marcella and Pedro Cavour