Event raises awareness and funds for NJ Center for TS Education Outreach Programs
PRINCETON JUNCTION, NJ- Over 300 children, family members and friends gathered at Mercer County Park to show their support for more than 20,000 school aged New Jersey kids with Tourette Syndrome. The event surpassed last year’s fundraising and attendance records.
Tourette Syndrome (TS) is an inherited neurological disorder characterized by involuntary movements or sounds known as tics. TS is frequently accompanied by ADHD, obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, anxiety and learning disabilities. As many as 1 in 100 children show signs of TS.
NJ Walks for TS is a day of advocacy, awareness and empowerment designed for kids, by kids. Tess Kowalski of Plainsboro and her father, Tim, have organized this event since it began last year.
“I was really overwhelmed by how many people came to support the New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome,” said Tess, “I’m so glad to know I have been able to make this event happen because of the support it gives to the organization.”
Proceeds from NJ Walks benefit the Education Outreach programs of the New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome and Associated Disorders, Inc. (NJCTS) which delivers in-service workshops to schools and hospitals across the state, youth leadership training and scholarships.
Tess, age 15, was joined by youth co-chairs Ethan Lederman of Howell and Hallie Hoffman of Belle Mead. All three spoke of their personal experiences, struggles and triumphs with TS during the event.
“The members of the NJ Walks for TS at Princeton Youth Committee who spoke provided a powerful message of both the challenges of living with TS, and the positive impact that education, advocacy, and research have made to their lives,” said Tim Kowalski.
Tim, who is also a member of the NJCTS Board of Directors continued, “The support that the NJCTS receives through the NJ Walks for TS campaign ensures that its Education Outreach Programs will continue to serve the needs of patients and families affected by this misunderstood and often isolating condition. ”
Senator Linda Greenstein and Assemblyman Wayne De Angelo, who co-chaired the walk’s Honorary Committee, made it a point to remind the crowd in attendance that they are not alone when it comes to supporting TS in Trenton.
“The support that the NJCTS receives from the community through events like this, and the efforts of our NJ Walks for TS at Princeton Honorary Committee and other state Legislators, helps to ensure that kids and adults with TS get access to the resources they need, and that research to better understand and treat the disorder can continue,” said Kowalski.
The event was so successful that NJCTS is keeping the event’s fundraising website (http://www.active.com/donate/NJWalk4TSPrinceton15) open until April 30th.
“We are proud our statewide awareness events so are the children, their families and friends involved,” said NJCTS Executive Director Faith W. Rice, “Our Education Outreach programs are making a profound impact on diagnosis, treatment and positive outcomes for thousands of kids in New Jersey and beyond.”
NJ Walks for TS began in Mendham in 2011, the Kowalski’s established a Central Jersey walk at Princeton in 2014 and this year, NJCTS will bring NJ Walks to South Jersey on September 20th at Medford Lakes.
For more information on Tourette Syndrome, NJ Walks for TS or Education Outreach Programs of NJCTS, visit www.njcts.org or call 908-575-7350.