My name is Olivia Woodrich and I am a Rising Leader for the Tourette Association of America. I consider myself a powerful advocate thanks to the training and tools I have received from the TAA, however nothing could have prepared me for what I’d experience due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With help from the TAA I have been equipped with the tools I need to confidently educate those around me about
Tourette Syndrome and Tic Disorders. In my role as Miss Route 66, representing the state of Oklahoma, I have spoken to packed auditoriums and appeared in the news, but I wasn’t prepared for all the stares and angry looks because of my coughing tic.
Every single year, I fly down to Washington, D.C. to advocate for the most pressing issues facing the Tourette Syndrome and Tic Disorder community. This year turned out to be a little different. As I was preparing for my flight I read a news article about a girl who was kicked off a plane because she was coughing. The other passengers complained about her so much that the stewardess asked her mother for proof that she did not have the Coronavirus (COVID-19). When she could not provide the proof, the two of them were asked to deplane.
This was terrifying to me. I wanted to avoid a situation like this, so I prepared as best I could. I brought along an official diagnosis letter from my doctor, as well as the ‘I have TS’ ID card. I thought I took necessary measures, but I still wasn’t prepared for what came next.
Make a Gift To Ensure Situations Like These Stop.
People were visibly getting up and switching seats as I began to cough. I tried to explain to people around me that it was just a tic, but to no avail. This is why educating people on the facts about the disorder is so important and this is why the Tourette Association is imperative to the community. Please join me by making a gift to the TAA in support of their efforts.
Hopefully one day we can erase not only the stigma, but more importantly the discrimination and social isolation that people with TS face on a daily basis.
A NOTE FROM THE TAA:
Olivia is not alone. We have heard versions of her story from others over these last weeks and we need to ensure situations like these don’t happen again. The Tourette Association of America is committed to providing the community with information and resources that can help support you and your loved ones
during this high-stress situation and beyond.
With your support we can ramp up online and virtual programming to ensure we remain a resource during this complicated and confusing time. Togetherness and community may be taking on a new meaning, but we remain steadfast in being there for you.