Joseph Patrone

As a kid, I’d always be coughing and making strange noises: snorting, sniffling and all sorts of unusual sounds. It started to become more prominent when I was 8, that’s when my mom decided to take me to the doctor and see what was going on with me. I was then diagnosed with Asthma, which we believed was the problem, but it really wasn’t. I was given an inhaler that I felt really didn’t do anything to help my constant coughing and noises. By the time I was 13, I began to notice more things happening. It wasn’t just the coughing now, I started twitching everywhere, having so many different types of involuntary movements, from flexing my hands to flicking my toes to jerking my neck in directions causing me to create large knots in my back.

One day in school, I was in 7th grade at the time, I was at lunch with the boys in my grade. I was eating my lunch and twitching my hands and blinking constantly in an abnormal way, and I looked over to see some of my friends at the time laughing. Me and one of my friends didn’t know what they were all laughing about, but then I soon realized, they were making fun of my tics. I was so offended and hurt by this, I went into the bathroom and cried, finishing my food by myself. That was when I realized something had to be done. I went to my mom and we scheduled an appointment with a neurologist, who then diagnosed me with Chronic Tic/Tourrette Syndrome. My mom cried after getting the diagnosis because she knew there was something wrong, and it wasn’t Asthma or the flu or a habit. My dad’s side of the family would always yell at me for coughing at the dinner table and thought I was constantly sick, but that wasn’t the case. My mom was happy to know what was actually wrong with me and began to study on how to help suppress my tics.

As of today, I’ve been through 4 doctors who’ve helped in different ways to suppress my tics, but nothing truly effective has happened to me just yet. People hardly notice I have Tourrette Syndrome now even though I notice my movements and noises, so I guess the medicines and routines I’ve done have really made progress on stopping the tics. I still get large knots in my back and have some very bad days with tics, but there are also very good days. I’ve learned to accept that this is something I have to live with, and I take pride in it. If it wasn’t for my mother or my friends and my doctors, I wouldn’t feel nearly as good about myself as I do now. I feel like I deserve this scholarship because I’ve struggled with this illness for a long time and my family wants me to pursue my dreams, but it’s very difficult with what I want to do and our current financial situation. I want to be able to attend film school, and make it in the industry, creating and working on films that mean something and can be something audiences around the world can connect to.