NJCTS gives thanks for those who participated in the Mendham Walk: Founder Emily Carrara and her volunteers played big role

It is only fitting that the second annual New Jersey Walks For TS event took place in the week leading up to Thanksgiving. While we still are accepting donations through Dec. 1 in hopes of reaching our fundraising goal of $50,000, there are many individuals and families to thank right now for what was an extremely successful event!

One of those individuals is Emily Carrara, the 18-year-old from Mendham who helped the New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome (NJCTS) found the event last year. Carrara has been a driving force behind the walk and played an instrumental role in helping recruit scores of teenagers from her high school and others to serve as volunteers during the event.

Carrara termed this year’s walk an “awesome” experience and did her best to personally thank as many walkers, runners, donors and volunteers as possible before, during and after the event.

She was especially proud of her classmates and friends, many of whom helped guide the runners and walkers through the event’s route, for helping out.

“It was really easy to get my friends on board,” said Carrara, who is pictured above wearing a white shirt. “They took their time and got up really early. It’s not easy to get up that early.”

Carrara wants to see the TS walk grow movement as soon as next year, when she heads off to a yet-to-be determined college.

“There were way more people than last year, and it was better than I expected,” said Carrara, who is prodding her cousins, Brendan McCarthy and T.J. Stanley, to do walks in Bergen County and at Ridge High School. “We need to expand it more.”

Stanley, who was Carrara’s inspiration for starting the walk, was very visible throughout the event — even choosing to run the 5K course with a video camera strapped to his head and afterward describing the experience in the same fashion as Carrara — “awesome.”

NJCTS Board President Timothy Omaggio also was extremely pleased with the event and took the time to single out Carrara’s exemplary performance.

“We had great weather and a great turnout, and I just hope we can continue the enthusiasm and build it even more next year,” said Omaggio, who served as emcee for the walk. “One of the things over the years that we’ve really tried to focus on is awareness of TS. A lot more people are getting that now and understand that. Emily Carrara made a good point about getting young people to understand what TS is all about, and I think that makes a huge difference. The more young people, the better.”

If you wish to join Carrara, Stanley, McCarthy and others in helping NJCTS reach its fundraising goal of $50,000, please visit www.active.com/donate/MendhamWalksForTS. For more information about the New Jersey Walks For TS event, please visit www.njcts.org.