Awareness for Tourette Syndrome, April 14 walk increasing at Ramapo

A large crowd of students and faculty turn out to hear more about the neurological disorder and the NJ Walks For TS event.

MAHWAH – Tourette Syndrome awareness is taking off at Ramapo College, and it’s not just because the beautiful Bergen County campus will host the NJ Walks For TS at Ramapo College on Sunday, April 14.

The college on February 26 hosted a presentation by one of its own, senior AnnaKatharine Miehe, and the New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome & Associated Disorders (NJCTS). The presentation featured key information about the misunderstood, misdiagnosed, inherited neurological disorder that affects 1 in 100 children and adults – including an overview and definition of vocal and motor tics (which characterize a TS diagnosis); associated disorders such as OCD, ADHD, anxiety and depression; and some of the educational programs and services offered statewide by NJCTS.

Following the presentation, the Discovery Channel documentary “Tourette Uncovered” was shown to the gathering of nearly 60 students and faculty. That number might not sound like much, but according to Miehe, such presentations – which are part of Ramapo College’s mandatory “Cinematheque” series – often draw no more than a dozen people.

“It was an absolute pleasure to present alongside NJCTS to spread TS awareness to the Ramapo Community,” said Miehe, who is planning the April 14 walk as her senior project. “I’m very happy with the turnout and found it very fulfilling to see everyone react so positively to what the presentation and documentary had to offer. I believe the presentation is a precursor to what we will see at NJ Walks for TS at Ramapo College, and I’m ecstatic to see how everything else will unravel.”

The walk will take place rain or shine April 14, with registration beginning at 1 p.m. and the walk commencing at 2 p.m. The cost is $10 for current Ramapo College students only (must show college ID and/or have a valid Ramapo e-mail address; not applicable for Ramapo faculty or former students) and $22.50 for the general public.

As part of the festivities on April 14, NJCTS will present River Dell High School senior Emily Fleischman with the inaugural Youth Advocate of the Year Award. Miehe’s brother, Will, is part of a band that will feature reggae-and-blues music throughout the afternoon, and the Ramapo College A Cappella group will sing the National Anthem.

Ramapo College Assistant Professor of Communication Arts Andrew Burns, who was in attendance for the Cinematheque presentation, believes the walk will be a resounding success and that the entire Ramapo community should come out to support it.

“For the past two semesters, AnnaKatharine Miehe has dedicated her time to bring awareness of Tourette Syndrome to campus and the surrounding communities,” Burns said. “Continuing her efforts to raise awareness and funding for research, AnnaKatharine has organized what is sure to be a fantastic event at Ramapo College: the NJ Walks for TS. It is a chance for all of us to continue to become educated about the disorder and to put empathy into action.”

To joins Burns, Miehe and the rest of the Ramapo College community at the walk, please visit the NJ Walks For TS at Ramapo College registration page.

To help Miehe, NJCTS and members of New Jersey’s TS community fundraise for this event, the proceeds from which will benefit the statewide education outreach and peer advocacy programs of NJCTS, please visit the NJ Walks For TS at Ramapo College donations page.

To volunteer your time and talents on the day of the event, please call NJCTS Volunteer Coordinator Marty Butterfield at 908-575-7350 or send an e-mail with “Ramapo Walk Volunteer” in the subject line to info@njcts.org. For more information about NJCTS’ programs and services or the origins of the NJ Walks For TS initiative, please visit www.njcts.org.