June 15 marked the end of another successful Tourette Syndrome Awareness Month. This is my third Awareness Month with the TAA and I am, yet again, amazed by the community’s engagement and willingness to further funding and understanding of Tourette Syndrome. This momentum is what will continue elevating this disorder among the general public and drive away stigma. We have all been privy to the cruel comments made by the media and people uneducated about Tourette Syndrome. In a response, we have launched the Tourette Pledge to create a social movement. While it gained momentum, we need more signatures in order to create a buzz and have an impact. Please take a moment to sign the pledge and make a donation to help us continue making progress.
In addition to our heightened awareness efforts, we are bolstering our National presence. I am pleased to announce that the TAA has invested in the first all funds budget model to expand on the presence of the TAA across the nation. This new model is being piloted with the Southern California Chapter, who recently appointed Executive Director, Eric McGowan, to oversee and expand operations and community engagement in the Southern California region. In tandem with this launch, Tracey Alexander, VP of Resource Development and Chapter Services, and I spent a week in California meeting with various investors and hosting Lunch and Learns. A particular highlight was hosting an information session for the staff at Facebook headquarters in the Bay Area.
To end awareness month on a strong note, TAA staff was present at many different locations throughout the US. The TAA New York Center of Excellence Consortia hosted a symposium at Weill Cornell in NYC to discuss TS and healthcare disparities, and I joined Dr. Barbara Coffey, and Tanya Sockol, of the TAA Florida Chapter, in Washington, D.C. to present at Mental Health America’s National Conference about the impact and management of Tourette Syndrome and co-occurring conditions. Two Youth Ambassadors, Jack Carlin and Alexandra Cuttler, went to great lengths in educating their local communities and Governor Cuomo about TS. As a result of their efforts a proclamation to light the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge teal was issued. In addition, Nassau County Executive, Laura Curran, presented Amy Singh and members of Long Island Student Heroes a proclamation designating May 15 – June 15 Tourette Syndrome Awareness Month.
Awareness Month may have come to a close, but our efforts will not. Thank you to all who participated by sharing your story, making a donation, getting involved locally, or by making connections that can further awareness efforts. No act is too small – collectively they are truly making a difference.