What does the future hold? Our very impressive Dollars 4 Tic Scholars scholarship applicants can tell you. They know their educational goals. They know how they want to show up in the world when they finish school and have their chance to make their mark. A theme we kept hearing throughout their essays and their videos? They want to help others. The empathy that these students show…learned through the trials of the condition they bear — Tourette Syndrome — is inspiring. Mostly, we publish these essays so that as others with Tourette Syndrome seek to find someone “like them,” someone who understands…they will gain hope. We hope our readers who have Tourette Syndrome will find courage that this disorder does not have to knock them down, and if it does, that they will get back up again. Our students have.

And for our visitors who do not have Tourette Syndrome, please help us spread awareness. Learn more through these real-life stories generously contributed by our students. Thank you. Read on and be inspired.

Dakota Austin Eads, 2018 Recipient, Dollars 4 Tic Scholars Tourette Syndrome Graduate Student Scholarship 

I was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome at a later age than most, 19. I was quite a ways into completing my undergraduate degree and I was not prepared for a life changing diagnosis to be handed down at that stage in my life. Although I was diagnosed later in life than most people, this diagnosis truly brought a great amount of clarity to quite a few situations that had presented themselves earlier in my life. During my school age years, [Read more here…]

Rachel Elena Keener, 2018 Recipient, Dollars 4 Tic Scholars Tourette Syndrome Scholarship Sponsored by the Brad Cohen Tourette Foundation  

I never imagined the number of apologies I would find myself giving when I walked into the first day of my junior year. In the weeks before, small involuntary jerks that for years before I had brushed off as mere shivers began to become more and more frequent and intense. I would not receive my diagnosis of chronic motor tic disorder for nearly six months—thousands of tics and almost as many apologies and attempted explanations later. Chronic motor tic disorder [Read more here…]

Jason Bumbarger Ingerick, 2018 Recipient, Dollars 4 Tic Scholars Tourette Syndrome Scholarship Sponsored by The Ochsman Foundation, Inc.  

Growing up with Tourette’s Syndrome, I have always dealt with feeling different. When I was young, other kids didn’t understand my tics, and adults assumed I was being problematic. Children and adults alike asked me why I was doing what I was doing, and would ask me to stop. Since getting older, however, my peers have learned not to ask questions, and the adults have stopped assuming that I do it on purpose. Although they do not talk about it, [Read more here…]

Maggie Rose Cincotta, 2018 Recipient, Dollars 4 Tic Scholars Tourette Syndrome Scholarship Sponsored by The Ochsman Foundation, Inc. 

When I was five, my parents noticed me constantly twitching and making strange noises. Curious, they took me to various medical professionals for neurological testing, where I was diagnosed with tourettes syndrome. I soon began visiting a tourette’s specialist, who taught me multiple techniques to decrease my tourette’s. I found it quite frustrating to manage my tourette’s. They were strong, they were annoying, and, worst of all, they were embarrassing. Nonetheless, I was determined to [Read more here…]

Jonah Benjamin Hinds, 2018 Recipient, Dollars 4 Tic Scholars Tourette Syndrome Scholarship Sponsored by Order of AHEPA Chapter #487

Often times when I tell people my story, I hear apologetic remarks like “I’m so sorry to hear that” or “I’m sorry that you had to go through that”. While these certainly have good intentions, I usually dismiss comments like these. I can’t even imagine the person I would be today, had it not been for Tourette syndrome. Many aspects of my personality have been shaped by my disorder. Through my struggles in my childhood, [Read more here…]

Jacob Malloy Fleming, 2018 Recipient, Dollars 4 Tic Scholars Tourette Syndrome Scholarship  

Pity is not something I seek or accept. Simply stated, I have a disorder that makes part of my brain malfunction. I was diagnosed with Tourette’s Syndrome (TS) at 7 years old — and I am a stronger person because of it. I have been extremely fortunate: While others with TS have life-shattering involuntary tics and vocalizations, mine are now managed. That’s not to say I haven’t had problems. Tics and obsessive thoughts are two attributes I’ve experienced since early youth. I have no doubt, though, that these struggles and how I’ve triumphed over them will continue to [Read more here…]

Read on to learn about more of our impressive 2018 applicants!

Steven James Argenzio

“You know, outside the circus, most people were afraid of me. But I didn’t hate them. I pitied them. Do you know why? Because most people will never know anything beyond what they see with their own two eyes.” This quote from the character Nightcrawler in the second X-Men film, means a lot to me, because like the characters in the X-Men comic books, I myself am a mutant. No, I don’t have superpowers or a cool costume, but I do have [Read more here…]

Justin Parker Bachman

September 18, 2010, is the day that changed my life forever. That is the day I went from living in the shadows to becoming a spokesperson for tolerance and acceptance. To tell the story right I have to start in 7th grade. I was having episodes of uncontrollable movements and [Read more here…]

Jack St. Clair Bennett

A time bomb in my head. That is what it was like to grow up with Tourette Syndrome. Somewhere inside me something would blow any minute. The explosion would come out as a twitch, grunt, convulsion, or some tic. I could make plenty of attempts to smother it whenever I felt the bomb “ticcing,” but I could never diffuse that Tourette bomb for good.  In middle school, [Read more here…]

Rivers Barthelemy 

My goal is to attain a career where I can use my specialized information technology skills combined with strong business background to help organization implement information technologies to achieve their technology and business goals. I am very passionate about information technology and how it can be successfully implemented and managed [Read more here…]

Randi Jae Chundriek  

Life’s a Twitch
TWITCH, FLING, TIC, my body jolted. My arms contracting, my muscled twitching, head flinging back and forth, my legs folding in one by one. My god, please stop moving! I begged my body to stop, but it would never listen. When did this even start?!? I questioned to myself, but I already knew the answer. Birth. Even though I was only diagnosed a few years back, [Read more here…]

Brady Griffin D’Hont

My name is Brady D’Hont and I have Tourette’s Syndrome. Although I wasn’t officially diagnosed until the age of 16. I have struggled with it for many years. My parents noticed my movements and vocal noises and thought it was just stress. It continued for years where it got worse and then got better then got worse and then better. My brother, Chase, couldn’t stand my noises but my parents told him that he needed to [Read more here…]

Alexandro Milla Herrera 

Hello, my name is Alexandro Herrera, I am 17 years old and I am a senior in high school. I was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome when I was 11. At that time, I was in a middle school which was a charter school. It was hard for me because I had a lot of vocal tics. The school then suggested [Read more here…]

Max Allen Jackson

Teenagers face many challenges and hardships such as broken homes, being fatherless, and having a mom that works all the time to keep things going. Teenagers also have mental health issues like anxiety, ADHD, OCD, and Tourette Syndrome. I was handed all of those hardships and issues. I call them the “gang”. [Read more here…]

Allison Brooke Leamy 

When I was about twelve I started getting random tremors that would cause my arm and leg muscles to tense up and shake for a couple seconds. This may not seem that bad but when it happened five times walking down one hallway it started to get annoying to deal with. It was really confusing and kind of scary because neither I nor my parents knew what was happening. We went to the doctor who sent us to a neurologist who then told us [Read more here…]

Apostolos-Christos Lianos

I was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome at the age of nine and my life stopped being the same after that. In the beginning the tics were not as severe but still made me different than other kids my age. Trying to control the tics became my daily goal. It was very difficult to understand all the facts about my condition but I wanted to succeed and become a productive member of my community so I learned to live with the tics and kept participating in my daily activities. However, in the beginning of 8th grade something happened  [Read more here…]

Dakota Adam MacLean  

Life with TS for me has been very interesting to say the least and has not always been easy. People don’t understand what TS is and what it is like living with TS on a daily basis. The way people look at you differently,  [Read more here…]

Abigail Marie McElroy  

Growing up with Tourette’s Syndrome has definitely helped me grow into the person I am today. Starting at a young age I’d always had odd things I’d do, whether I’d be moving my nose, squishing my eyes closed, or opening my mouth wide for no reason. My parents never really thought anything about it because most kids do weird things, and they eventually stopped talking about it. Fast forward to middle school where my tics became worse. I’d shake my whole head, make vocalized noises, and shake my whole body. My parents eventually began to become more and more worried after   [Read more here…]

Arman Sebastian Nazerian

Growing up with Tourette’s Syndrome has been quite an interesting affair because it has never existed on its own. I have ADHD and OCD and was diagnosed in that order with big time gaps existing between. The first real memory I have of expressing any tics goes all the way back to when I was 7 years old and in second grade. I was in the back of my mom’s beige minivan, Chris, a close friend of ours, was seated in the center, and my mom was driving. I kept raising the pitch of my voice [Read more here…]

Jameson David Neyman

I have never been shy about having Tourette’s. I didn’t know it was something to be “ashamed” of. My brother Wyatt, my cousins Jake and Katheryn, and my uncle Kenny were all diagnosed with the same disorder that I had. So, to me tics and noises were completely normal. When I started school people would ask why I was making noises or why I would make and repeat movements. I would tell them that [Read more here…]

Grace Michaeline Radovich  

Throughout my whole life, I have battled with Tourette syndrome, and it has impacted my life in several ways. Tourette syndrome is a neurological disorder that is characterized by involuntary movements called tics, and patients have other neurological disorders that can be associated. This disorder has affected my whole life, and we didn’t know that until I was ten years old. I have verbal and motor tics, I have sensory integration disorder, I didn’t say any words until [Read more here…]  

Mario Luciano Rama 

My name is Mario Rama and I am a student at Connections Academy in Georgia. As my parents taught me, It’s not where you come from, it’s what you do with the opportunities and gifts you are given. When I was 7 years old I was diagnosed with Tourettes, ADHD, and OCD. I decided early on that  [Read more here…]

Kirk John Ricketts

When I was diagnosed with Tourette’s in my sixth grade year I didn’t have a clue as to what it meant or what my life up to my senior year of high school would be like. I had no clue it would affect how fast I get my homework done, taking tests or walking to class. What should take the typical person 30 minutes to do an assignment would easily take me double if not triple that time. When I walk from class to class on a normal day at school is a challenge because when [Read more here…]

Cooper Michael Self

It’s my turn! Coach calls me in as relief pitcher. I step up to the mound, I dig my toes into the dirt, heels dangling from the edge of the rubber. I get the fastball sign and I nod. The crowd has been fairly silent but I begin to hear shouts from the opposing dugout. No time to listen, I throw my first pitch, ball one. As the ball returns, I roll my eyes and jerk my head. Their dugout seems to [Read more here…]

Molly Sevim Traylor

My life story began to unfold at age five; at this early age, I realized that there were many different learning styles evident among children my age. I also realized that a simple task or assignment seemed to take me longer to complete than most. A recurring memory of my elementary school years is the time I spent overlooking the playground from a classroom window. While others enjoyed recess, I stayed behind to [Read more here…]

Sarah Kailin Waddell 

At a young age in second grade my teachers noticed something odd about me. I had just moved to Germantown Tennessee and was a new student at Farmington Elementary. During class, I would curse and scream things, interrupting the class. My teacher was not pleased with my behavior and my dad was called to the school. He took me to Memphis Neurology and had my brothers and I tested for Tourette’s. This was day one of a new life for me. This disorder wasn’t known in my area and neither was I. I was bullied throughout elementary school but [Read more here…]

Madison McKenzie Weber

My life with Tourette syndrome began abruptly my eighth grade year. Seemingly odd behaviors started to surface. Ranging at first, from dropping my head quickly, to later when the upper half of my body would bend suddenly downward and my leg would jerk up to meet my head. As you can imagine, this was a stressful time for me… Regardless, I was very excited to begin [Read more here…]

Applicant A

There are a wide variety of people that suffer from neurological and psychological disorders. These disorders affect the person who has it, as well as the friends and families around them. These families go through a lot, just like my family did. Families who don’t have a problem like tourette syndrome cannot relate to the people who have gone through this disorder. My life is going very well right now. College is right down the road and I am very excited. Life was not always this easy and great. In my younger years of school [Read more here…]

Applicant B  

When I was first diagnosed with Tourette’s at the age of 13, I was confused, scared and downright uncertain. I thought my friends would look at me different, not want to talk to me, or think of me as the weird kid. However, I was lucky my friends were very understanding. I wasn’t ignored or called “that weird kid” like I thought I would be. By the time I turned 14 and I started high school all my fears came back. I would be at a new school with kids I didn’t know, “how would they act around me?”, “what would they say?”, “what would I do?” Somedays during school [Read more here…]

Applicant C

My life has not been an easy one by no means. But I have learned a lot from having Tourette’s Syndrome. Like the fact, that having fake friends is not an avenue anyone really wants to take. I have real friends, something everyone should be blessed with. These are the people who help you want to be more and do more than anyone ever expected. These are positive role models who cheering you on. There are some peers in my school who have [Read more here…]

Applicant D

Life for me with Tourette Syndrome has been challenging. Tourette is now well known in the media. If it is mentioned, it is shown as coprolalia and is considered too mature for children. I have had to advocate for myself from when I was eight and onwards. I repeated the same amount of information over and over so many times that I know it better than I know my own name and birthdate. But even explaining my syndrome to my peers did not stop them from [Read more here…]

Applicant E

When I was eight, I was diagnosed with Tourettes. I was in second grade, and my parents had just gotten divorced I remember being aware of my tics at school. Kids would stare and laugh at me because I was blinking. Some kids would even asked me “what are you doing?” I felt so uncomfortable because I had no clue how to respond. I didn’t understand my tics myself. Fast forward to [Read more here…]