I was diagnosed with TS when I was in 3rd grade at the age of 9. Growing up through this I have learned life is tough and it’s a long journey with so much to discover. When I was diagnosed I had never encountered anyone with Tourettes’s or really knew what it was or how to cope with it. It was very difficult for me going through school and not being able to focus. When I ticked it would make me the center of attention, (Which only made my tics worse) as I would try to suppress them. Growing up was hard I was expected to be just like everyone else even though I was severely different. I felt a lot of pressure as I was expected to advocate for something I barley understood myself. I started Taekwando and set my goal to be a world champion with an additional goal to be an instructor with Tourette’s Syndrome. After years of hard work (10 years) I qualified for a world championship and am now a second degree blackbelt continuing to train along with teaching at my Dojang of almost 40 students.

As I grew more and more as an individual I started a motivational movement called PositiveVibesOnly. This was a movement I started to show people there is always a positive perspective to any given situation you are given. I have been given the opportunity to share this message and my story through many different speaking engagements in churches, schools, and small group settings such as the North Florida chapter Tourettes group that my parents and I are the lead on.

Ever since I was little I was always bullied because of my differences but amazingly Tourettes has helped me see that my disability is just my different ability. I have learned that all my struggle will pay off and help me overcome any obstacles that are yet to come with confidence. Tourettes has made me who I am and I would never want to experience life without it. Tim Howard said “If woke up and didn’t have Tourettes syndrome, it would be weird- not better or worse just different”. If I didn’t have Tourettes I never would have been pushed to achieve the goals I already have and never would have become the leader I am today.

My goal is to make a difference and show the world that no matter what obstacle or challenge you can be facing such as TS you can achieve success. I am hoping to receive this scholarship as a push to helping me further reach my goals of success and advocate for Tourettes Syndrome.