Rochelle’s Story – Volunteering to Make a Difference

At 37 years old, living with Tourette Syndrome has been challenging at times for Rochelle Bono.

She was diagnosed in 1990 when she was 8 years old. Her tics included head jerking, blinking, grimaces, sniffling, clicking her tongue, barking like a dog, bird whistles and making crossed eyes. Rochelle also suffered from sleep disturbances and angry outbursts as a child.

As an adult, she experienced suicidal tendencies, loneliness, low self-confidence and isolation. She struggled with school and work, leading to homelessness and job loss.

She also suffers from chronic migraines, tendinitis and carpal tunnel due to her physical tics. And although
she is a mother of two, she lost the ability to care for her 16-year-old daughter.

“I’ve always been involved in her life, but it took away my ability to be a full-time parent. That’s one of the grim things that can result from it,” Rochelle said.

To raise awareness about Tourette Syndrome and Tic Disorders, she has been volunteering with the Tourette Association of America for four years.

Rochelle is the only person trained in Michigan to work as an adult Support Group leader in addition to being an Information and Referral Service Specialist.

Since receiving her certification recently, she has been able to assist families in finding doctors, therapies and Support Groups. She’s also planning fundraising events, informational booths and community programs.

To read the full story, visit the Oakland County Times.