By Victoria Propp, CDCR Division of Adult Institutions

In 2010, when my son was 16, he was diagnosed with Tourette’s Syndrome (TS).

For our family it was something of a relief. While we knew there was (and is) no cure, after nine years, we finally had a name for the daily battles of tics, tremors, headaches and focus issues.

From early on in his diagnosis, my son made the decision to not use medication to minimize the tics and to use holistic ways of coping with this disorder.

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It has been a difficult and painful journey for him, both physically and mentally.  By connecting with organizations like Tourette’s Syndrome Association (TSA), not only has he been able to see how others deal with TS, and learn of research and treatment options, he has become a role model for others.

Dealing with TS is a constant battle. Dealing with it when you are 16 and in high school is a raging war which doesn’t end. Bullying, mockery, and ignorance of what TS really is, gave my son the inspiration to teach others about TS and what it is like to live with a tic disorder.

He spoke to incoming freshman at his high school about the effects of bullying on those with mental health disorders and physical disabilities. He lectures at his college about living with disorders like TS, and he takes every opportunity to raise awareness and money for TSA.

My son is not alone in his journey. I give to TSA monthly through a payroll deduction as part of the Our Promise Campaign.

For me, the decision is incredibly personal knowing every advancement in treatment and research can be directly related to the funding I help provide.

TSA is not listed in the United Way Giving Directory, however, it was easy for me to meet with a Key Campaigner and learn I could write any non-profit 501 (c)(3) organization in on my form, sign it and turn it in. United Way handled the rest.

I even get monthly newsletters from TSA because I asked to be recognized in my contribution.

United Way and the Our Promise Campaign have made it simple for me to give back to TSA in hopes that my son will someday have a cure.

Learn more about Our Promise here:

Learn more about the Tourette’s Syndrome Association here: