Members of the Senate and General Assembly helped NJCTS recognize Youth Scholarship winners, Youth Advocates of the Year and top fundraisers in a ceremony prior to the vote.
To mark the occasion of Tourette Syndrome Awareness Day being instituted in New Jersey, the NJ Center for Tourette Syndrome and Associated Disorders, Inc. (NJCTS) celebrated with an awards ceremony at the New Jersey State House in Trenton on Thursday, June 7. During the ceremony, NJCTS presented twelve scholarships, recognized the top fundraising teams of their virtual walk event, and awarded the Youth Advocates of the Year.
Scholarships were given by NJCTS to accomplished high school seniors who live with Tourette Syndrome (TS)—an inherited, neurological disorder that affects 1 in 100 individuals. These awards were all presented by Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman. The top scholarship award was presented to Charles Griebell of Princeton and Hallie Hoffman of Belle Mead. The second place award was presented to Michael Hayden of River Vale. Finalists included Sarah Baldwin of Mantua, Gregory Bristol of Flemington, Alexis Cariddi of Franklin Lakes, Venkata Dudi of Pine Brook, Crystal Flax of Bridgewater, Gregory Houldsworth of Wyckoff, Bennet Miller of Chester, Matthew Muller of Little Egg Harbor, and Liane Sturrock of Fort Lee.
“We could not be more proud of these young men and woman and all that they have accomplished during their high school career,” said Faith Rice, Executive Director of NJCTS. “They have shown that TS does not have to hold you back. We wish them well in college and in all of their future endeavors.”
Earlier this year, NJCTS conducted a virtual event: NJ Walks for TS. Several families participated by creating their own event to raise awareness and funds for TS. The top fundraising teams were awarded certificates of achievement at the State House by Senator Troy Singleton, including Jatin Nayyar, 15, of Morganville who was the top fundraiser in the state. Other top fundraising teams included: Team Charles & Reyner, led by Charles Griebell,18, and Reyner Allen, 9, of Princeton; Team Nicholas, led by Nicholas DeLieto, 9, of Spotswood; Team Jamo, led by Jameson Dougherty, 9, of Newfoundland; Team Aiden, led by Aiden Storer,11, of Trenton; and Team Tim’s NB Raiders, led by Ally Abad, 18, of North Brunswick.
Youth Advocate of the Year awards were presented by Assemblywoman Patricia Egan Jones to the graduating advocates in recognition of their contribution to making a difference in New Jersey’s Tourette Syndrome Community. NJCTS Youth Advocates are dedicated to improving awareness and breaking the stigma of TS by educating the public, medical professionals, and educators, and by supporting kids and families living with TS. Youth Advocates receiving the award this year were Ally Abad, Sarah Baldwin, Charles Griebell, Michael Hayden, Hallie Hoffman and Liane Sturrock.
The joint resolution which officially designates June 4 of each year as “Tourette Syndrome Awareness Day” passed the General Assembly on May 24 and the Senate on June 7. Primary sponsors of the resolution on the Assembly side were Assembly members Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D37), Nicholas Chiaravalloti (D31), and Angela V. McKnight (D31). Primary sponsors on the Senate side were Senators Christopher “Kip” Bateman (D16) and Troy Singleton (D7). Prior to the Senate vote, NJCTS was recognized and brought onto the floor of the chamber for a photo.
“Raising public awareness of Tourette Syndrome is a critical step in encouraging the medical research needed to discover effective treatments, or even a cure, for those affected by this condition,” said Senator Singleton. “There are more than 20,000 children in New Jersey alone facing this neurological disorder. By dedicating June 4th as ‘Tourette Syndrome Awareness Day,’ those living with this condition are brought to the forefront of our hearts and minds.”
The NJ Center for Tourette Syndrome and Associated Disorders, the nation’s first Center for Excellence for Tourette Syndrome, is a not-for-profit organization committed to the advocacy of children and families with Tourette Syndrome and its associated disorders. Dedicated to delivering high quality services to these individuals, the Center recognizes the importance of educating the public, medical professionals, and teachers about this disorder through programs and affiliations with public schools, health centers, and universities. To learn more about Tourette Syndrome and the programs available from NJCTS, visit www.njcts.org.
Here are the highlights from a wonderful day at the New Jersey State House on Thursday. We awarded our NJCTS Scholarship…