11 year old requests proclamation on behalf of 20,000 NJ peers with Tourette Syndrome
JEFFERSON TWP., NJ- Kyla Butler knows the struggles of 20,000 school aged kids in New Jersey living with Tourette Syndrome (TS). She knows the fear of being different and the need for greater awareness and understanding of the neurological disorder characterized by involuntary movements or sounds known as tics.
When the New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome (NJCTS) put out the call for families across the state to ask their local leaders to recognize June 4th as a statewide day of awareness for TS, Kyla made the choice to advocate for herself and thousands of others.
“It was very easy, we just called the [mayor’s] office and they said they would be happy to support our cause,” said Kyla, “I want kids to know, even though you have TS, it’s not impossible to achieve your goals. That it can get really frustrating, but if you keep going, you can get through.”
The fifth grader is an accomplished skier and represented New Jersey in a recent competition in New Hampshire. Her mother, Joan, is impressed with Kyla’s display of courage.
“I know that Kyla feels happy that she can bring awareness to TS,” said Joan.
“[She] wants to help other children that have TS and has begun to speak up for herself when children ask her why she has tics,” Joan continued, “Kyla will respond ‘because I have TS and can’t help it.’ These few words have empowered her.”
Jefferson Township Mayor Russell Felter and the township council issued a proclamation declaring June 4th as Tourette Syndrome Awareness Day. It’s part of a larger, statewide campaign by NJCTS to raise awareness and understanding of Tourette Syndrome and its associated disorders including ADHD, obsessive-compulsive disorder, mental health issues and learning disabilities.
“There’s a lot of power in a young person who comes to accept their TS and use the challenges and life lessons they’ve learned to help others,” said NJCTS Executive Director Faith W. Rice. “We thank Joan Butler, Kyla Butler and Mayor Russell Felter with a proclamation declaring June 4th as Tourette Syndrome Awareness Day in Jefferson Township Jefferson Township and applaud Kyla and the work of our NJCTS Youth Advocates who are reaching out to political and business leaders to change the perception of this disorder.”
NJCTS is seeking proclamations from every municipality in New Jersey marking June 4th as Tourette Syndrome Awareness Day. To learn more about TS, or the work of NJCTS, please call 908-575-7350 or www.njcts.org.