Leadership. Generosity. Empathy for others. Determination. These are just a few of the characteristics exhibited by this year’s applicants for the Dollars 4 Tic Scholars Tourette Syndrome Scholarship. If you don’t walk in their shoes, you can’t quite understand what it is like every day…to know a tic is coming and keep it from distracting others, not to mention yourself. To tic while you are studying, typing or working with others. To be tired from having tics. To face the social pressures of having Tourette Syndrome.

Our goal in publishing these essays, with permission, from our outstanding applicants is to open the door a little more on awareness about this neurological disorder. We are so proud of our students for letting us share their stories. They know what it is like when others don’t understand. This collection of essays will touch you, just like our essays have since we started in 2015, which you can also find on our site (see below for links.) We’re not sure where else you can find such a collection of vulnerable stories that shed light on the challenges of having Tourette Syndrome…and we hope that readers find us to gain knowledge, and for those who have Tourette’s, perhaps to even find comfort in our community.

Get ready to read about perseverance and our young people who press on with dignity and heart. Read on, and we extend applause to all of our applicants!

Taylore Mary Elizabeth Ashton, 2019 Recipient, Dollars 4 Tic Scholars Tourette Syndrome Scholarship

Every person on this planet is different. Every person has gifts to offer. I have realized, we are all designed differently, and it is usually for a reason. Being a teenager with Tourette’s made high school a challenge. Of course, I have had to deal with rudeness of people and the insecurities that come with the tics. However, I have had more people [Read more here…]

Sean Matthew Blatter, 2019 Recipient, Dollars 4 Tic Scholars Tourette Syndrome Scholarship

*COUGH* *CLICK* *MMMMH*  I was six, sitting at home on my couch around Halloween watching a cartoon. I kept moving my jaw, but I didn’t understand why. I just had this urge to move my jaw in a way I never had before, when suddenly my jaw locked. I began crying profusely and yelling in pain, asking my mom for help. She rushed me to the hospital and while waiting, I couldn’t control [Read more here…]

Andrew Joseph Guise, 2019 Recipient, Dollars 4 Tic Scholars Tourette Syndrome Scholarship Sponsored by the Brad Cohen Tourette Foundation

Growing up with Tourette has not been easy. I experienced bullying in school and in the community. There were many places, including theaters, restaurants, and grocery stores that I was unable to go because I was constantly glared at, judged, or the target of hurtful comments. In spite of those things, TS has provided me with a platform for which I am forever grateful. Tourette has opened the door [Read more here…]

Jason Bumbarger Ingerick, 2019 Recipient, Dollars 4 Tic Scholars Tourette Syndrome Scholarship

Growing up with Tourette 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 [Read more here…]

Breanna Luisa Lozano, 2019 Recipient, Dollars 4 Tic Scholars Tourette Syndrome Scholarship

Imagine a 9 year old sitting in class, eyes rolling to the back of her head 7 times every other minute, neck jerking constantly, and hearing her clear her throat 3 times, every 62 seconds. This was me. I was in third grade when I received a diagnosis of Tourette’s syndrome. The doctor looked upon me like a wounded puppy. “This may subside after puberty,” he said, “or it may not.” “I’ve heard [Read more here…]

Maksymilian Marciniak, 2019 Recipient, Dollars 4 Tic Scholars Tourette Syndrome Scholarship 

“Kill yourself.” Words spoken to me so many times that I started to get used to it. My sophomore year of high school was inarguably the hardest year of my life, socially. I was trying to forge friendships with so many people, but kept running into walls that I could not climb. Regardless, I continued to attempt to be part of certain friend groups. Those people were mean [Read more here…]

Cora Mae Rasmussen, 2019 Recipient, Dollars 4 Tic Scholars Tourette Syndrome Scholarship 

When my parents took me to the doctor for my tics, I struggled to explain how my tics felt. Sometimes I felt like I had to repeat certain motions until I got them “right” or traveled along the correct “path” with my limbs. I was sure that neither my parents nor my doctor would understand. [Read more here…]

Jeremiah Randall Harold Zimmerman, 2019 Recipient, Dollars 4 Tic Scholars Tourette Syndrome Scholarship Sponsored by AHEPA Chapter 487

My symptoms were magnified during my preteen years. I made random high-pitched noises, blinked excessively, and jerked my head up and down. Kids my age at the time were generally uninformed, making it hard for me to be accepted. I have attended many games for the independent professional baseball team in my hometown. During my childhood, I commonly attended weeknight games so that I wouldn’t have to [Read more here…]

Read on to learn about more of our impressive 2019 applicants!

Christian Kayin Brunton

Before I was even born, I faced adversity. My birth mother was only fifteen, so she made an adoption plan for me. From the time I came home, I began facing physical challenges. These included, but were not limited to, having tonsils and adenoids so big that I did not grow very much the first two years; ear infections leading to six surgeries; ADHD; Dyslexia; anxiety; Obsessive Compulsive Disorder; tinnitus; partial hearing loss; and just to keep things interesting  [Read more here…]

Rebecca Caron

I have Tourette Syndrome. It was not until I turned 13 that I even knew it had a name. I always knew I HAD to make strange movements and noises, I just never knew why. And after my disability was given a name, my life changed forever. Having TS is like an open door for bullying. Classmates and adults [Read more here…]

Danielle L. Carter

My name is Danielle Carter, I am 18 years old. I have Tourettes Syndrome. I was diagnosed when I was only 4 years old. My life with Tourettes was not an easy feat. I dealt with a lot of physical and verbal tics and went through years of bullying because of it. I also struggle with severe anxiety due to my Tourettes. I had an extremely hard time in elementary school due to [Read more here…]

David Lemont Cummings

In 4th grade I would be in class and my ticks annoyed and worried classmates who sat near me. “Is that you?” they would ask. I was self-conscious of my actions and still am. I hated how there was nothing I could do to stop it. When school got harder, the ticks got worse. But I’m proud that despite Tourette Syndrome, I still [Read more here…]

Sarah Ellen James

I have been challenged in the past with my Tourettes syndrome. I was diagnosed with Tourette’s in fourth grade when my parents realized that I kept bobbing my head oddly when playing outfield on my softball team. My teacher at the time also brought it to my parents attention so they had me checked out. I was diagnosed with  [Read more here…]

Apostolos-Christos E. Lianos 

I was diagnosed with Tourette syndrome at the age of nine and my life stopped being the same after that. I had to overcome a lot of obstacles to be where I am today. There were times I had to be fed because of motor tics that would make me drop everything from my hands. Other times I had to use a wheelchair because my legs were shaking and couldn’t walk. My life was threatened at times when [Read more here…]

Sophia Diane Lorello

Life is full of drawbacks and obstacles that have formed me to the person I am today. Academically and personally, it was tremendously frustrating for me to become a successful person. Early in my life I was diagnosed with Tourette’s syndrome and obsessive-compulsive disorder. In order to become who I am now, I have [Read more here…]

Michael Anthony Milczarski

Tourette’s Syndrome can take effect of people in many different ways and my experience, like a lot of others, was different, It was years ago when I was performing at a chorus concert in 4th grade and my mom had noticed that I was blinking uncontrollably. She didn’t know what was wrong with me. I would be too if I saw my child like that. Little did myself or my parents know that I  [Read more here…]

Phillip Xavier Muddiman

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 [Read more here…]

Carissa Myre 

I have struggled a lot over the years with Tourette Syndrome. I tried several medications but the side effects were to difficult to handle. A lot of my tics have been very muscular and have caused chronic pain in the area. The more anxious that I get about things, the worse my tics get. I try to hide them when I am out of the house and this is very difficult. I have had people at school and dance asking me [Read more here…]

Joseph Michael 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 [Read more here…]

Nicholas Edward Perry

I have had a lot of different experiences with tourettes. Tourettes can sometimes be difficult to live with. If I am in certain situations it makes my everyday tasks harder to do. Sometimes I have ticks really bad when I am driving and it can distract me or make it harder to drive in general. I might also get really bad ticks when I am [Read more here…]

Katya Anna Raskin

After switching from pediatrician to pediatrician, to psychologists and then to neurologists, I was diagnosed with Tourette’s Syndrome in December of 2010. Through the years, I have experienced head shaking so severe that I had a constant headache, skips in my step that made me fall sometimes, and gasps for air that [Read more here…]

Epiphany Marie Rhoads 

7th grade was the first time I ever felt a tic. I couldn’t tell you what it was; maybe a head jerk a grunt or an arm fling. The thing I remember most is just that something was very wrong. I was terrified that it was my fault. I was embarrassed and I didn’t have any idea what was wrong with me. I spent a long time waiting for it to go away and not talking to anyone about it, but instead of getting better it got worse.
The only way I can describe the feeling is like [Read more here…]

Makayla Marie Schymanski 

For many years I’ve been known as the tall girl, the athlete, and the girl who makes weird faces. My parents will tell you I’ve never met a stranger, it’s true; I do make friends wherever I go. I’m kind, tenderhearted, friendly and trusting. But I am more than all of this. When I entered high school, I came to the realization that [Read more here…]

Reagan Wesley Scoles

Living with Tourette’s Syndrome is a different experience for everyone who has it. For me, my Tourette’s Syndrome has been quite mild. When I was little, my parents noticed I was doing some strange movements, such as scrunching my face, rolling my shoulders back, and squinting at the TV, even when I told them I could see it well. I was diagnosed with Tourette’s Syndrome around the age of eight, and it started to get worse. It got to the point where [Read more here…]

Alyssa Tibbetts

Having Tourette’s Syndrome has really opened my eyes to the world around me. I discovered so many people just within the walls of my high school who shared the same condition as me. I found a great support system for when I’m upset about my tics. For example, about a month prior to my diagnosis, there was a point in time where [Read more here…]

Bradley Matthew Wilinski

At age 7, I was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome. In elementary school, things were extremely hard. Kids would laugh and stare as I was ticcing. My eyes would roll uncontrollably, my legs would kick my desk so hard that it would fall over. But worst of all, was a vocal tic that [Read more here…]

Applicant A

I have been diagnosed with Tourettes Syndrome since I was a small child. I have had to struggle with anger issues and physical tics. It became hard ever since Pre-School as I could not control my anger. Tourettes Syndrome made me [Read more here…]

Applicant B  

I have been picked on for having this syndrome. Every grade its always been something new. Senior has been the worst it has ever been in my whole life. My ticks have increased tremendously. Its my senior year, and my most stressful year. It started in August [Read more here…]

Applicant C

I had my first tic at a birthday party when I was five. It was November 12, 2006, and if you look at the photos from that party, you’ll see that I was enthusiastically eating a red cupcake and had no idea how that day would   [Read more here…]