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Nathaniel Ray

When you’re little kid not a whole lot in life makes sense. Life is pretty simple and there isn’t a whole lot to worry about. As you get older you figure a lot out and life becomes more difficult. For me growing up was a lot harder than other people. I was diagnosed with Tourette’s syndrome at the age of 7 along with OCD and ADD. It was hard fitting in and figuring out how to deal with my Tourette’s. That time period in my life really challenged me as a person though, it developed me into the person that I am today. It made me into a hard working person not afraid to take on adversity and tough challenges.

When I was in 8th grade I applied to become a youth ambassador for the Tourette’s Syndrome Association. It was a stressful time for me I was in my last year in middle school getting ready for high school and my tics were not going to give me a break. During December of my 8th grade year I found out that I was going to Washington D.C. to be trained to become a youth ambassador. I was so excited to go and the opportunity that awaited. Going to training that spring was amazing, I got trained to do presentations, meet others with Tourette’s, and talk to congressmen at Capitol Hill. It was a moment in my life where I realized that Tourettes’s is what defines me, I can be proud about who I am, not something I have to be ashamed about. After the trip I began to give presentations to schools and groups to talk about Tourette’s and accepting people who are different. It helped me become a good public speaker and it developed me into a leader. This was a huge turning point in my life, it gave me the motivation to always work hard and always chase my dreams and goals. Yes I have Tourette’s, but it doesn’t define what I can and cannot do.