A growing number of children, teens, and young adults are getting ready to make their way through the streets of Medford Lakes next Sunday with a common goal—to raise awareness and understanding of Tourette Syndrome (TS).
NJ Walks for TS will take place Sept.18th with check in beginning at 7 a.m. at P.J. Whelihan’s, 61 Stokes Road. All proceeds from the 5K walk/family fun run will benefit the education outreach programs of the NJ Center for Tourette Syndrome (NJCTS).
Tourette Syndrome is a neurological disorder characterized by involuntary movements or sounds known as tics. As many as 1 in 100 children show symptoms of TS and there is no cure. Most people with TS experience co-occurring conditions like attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, learning disabilities, anxiety, and depression.
“There is a lot more going on than what you are able to see, it’s a very complex condition,” said Anna Baldwin, 17, of Mantua Township. “The stereotypes out there make it very difficult for people to tell what is true [about TS] and what is not.”
Anna, and her sister Sarah, 16, and brother Eric, 13, serve as Youth Advocates for NJCTS. Funds raised by NJ Walks for TS allow the organization to train teens with Tourette Syndrome to serve as peer mentors for those living with the disorder and its associated conditions. Youth Advocates travel throughout the state delivering presentations to school faculty, students, and even healthcare professionals.
“Kids with TS often feel very alone and their parents feel lost,” said Sarah. “[As a Youth Advocate] I go out to different schools and give presentations to raise awareness for TS.”
Eric adds “the walk raises money to help educate classmates and teachers about TS,” and urges the public to join the movement in order to “help kids who are struggling in school and socially.”
Dante Hale, 21, of Burlington is looking forward to NJ Walks for TS as a much needed show of support for the tens of thousands of young people in the region sharing the same struggles.
“I want people to understand how hard people with TS work to help others understand their challenges,” he said. “Those of us with TS just need your love and support.”
Anna, Sarah, Eric, and Dante are part of the youth committee behind the event which will feature a paddleboard live auction, face painting and live performances by Dawson Coyle. All registrants will receive a free one-month trial membership to Medford Fitness. For more information, to donate, or to register, visit www.njcts.org.
NJ Walks for TS at Medford Lakes
Sunday, Sept. 18th
Check-in 7 a.m.
61 Stokes Road, Medford Lakes, NJ
Rain or shine