Multinational Effort Launches The Tourette Alliance to Serve in Northern Ireland
New Advocacy Group Formed to Mark the Start of Tourette Awareness Month
By: The Tourette Alliance
Officially launching to coincide with Tourette Awareness Month, The Tourette Alliance is based in Northern Ireland and provides resources for information, support services, access to early diagnosis and state-of- the-art information concerning research and medical treatments for Tourette Syndrome and Tic Disorders. The organization also will serve as an advocacy and educational outreach program, providing the most current medical information to schools, social services agencies and other national healthcare delivery systems.
"When my eldest son was first diagnosed, I found myself struggling to find information and to really understand the disorder. After a recent conversation with a mom who lives in Ireland, I discovered that they are facing these same difficulties, but with far fewer resources to turn to. The community here in the United States has been so wonderful for my family, I felt it was time to pay it forward," said Tanya Sockol-Harrington, the Florida resident who spearheaded the group's formation
Harrington contacted Deborah Anderson, a resident of Lisburn, to suggest they launch a new awareness endeavour, one run by those who live in Northern Ireland but armed with the wealth of information available to US-based organizations.
Anderson, who has devoted her professional career to education, was uniquely qualified for the project. Currently a Learning Support Assistant, Anderson became an advocate when her son was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome at the age of 12 and has spent the last 15 years tirelessly working to ensure a brighter future for all those affected by Tourette Syndrome, Tic Disorders and the secondary conditions which can accompany them.
With that goal in mind, Anderson reached out to Suzanne Lavery, a qualified Community Youth Worker currently involved in a West Belfast charity. Lavery is the mother of two sons, including one was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome at age 10.
Lavery will serve as Chairman of the Board of Directors for The Tourette Alliance. "I will use all my passion, enthusiasm and motivation to ensure we are working towards a future where Tourette Syndrome is accepted in our society. This organisation will strive to do that through advocacy, education and lobbying for change here in Northern Ireland," Lavery said.
Anderson will serve as secretary of the nonprofit; Paula Gillies of Belfast will serve as treasurer; Damian Luke of Derry will be working with the Youth Representative program, Susan Conners will be the group's Resource Chairperson, while Tanya Sockol-Harrington will serve as the official liaison to partners and organizations in the United States.
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