Plymouth teenager beats the bullies to launch Tourette's charity
A TEENAGER with Tourette's Syndrome has spoken about the darkest days of being bullied as he prepares to start his own charity.
Jack Davis, 14, from Devonport, was diagnosed with Tourette's Syndrome at the age of seven and started to get tics at the age of eight.
"The bullies used to call me 'twitch boy', 'the twitcher' and 'the twitchinator'. It made me feel worthless, I didn't feel like I could live," he said.
"It destroyed my self esteem and mind set. It's so big, it's such a big part of someone's life.
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"People have no idea at all what it's like to live with it. They never got off my case and would constantly take the mick.
"People thought they wouldn't involve me. You don't feel like you have a place in the community, I was like an outcast," he added.
Jack is currently in Year 9 at Plymstock School and suffers with a head movements and a facial tic.
"It can be difficult and quite painful but there are good days and bad days and I have medication to take that can help. The tics are painful but I've learnt how to control them," he said.
Jack takes one tablet in the morning, two at lunch and one in the evening.
He also suffers with Asperger Syndrome which he controls himself.
"The tics give me anxiety, stress, my self esteem was terrible, it was so awful I didn't want to go to school.
"To hide the tics I used to misbehave and I did it to hide the fact I was different.
"It put a strain on the family because they knew some of the things I would be going through, the bullying especially.
"The fact people can't understand how it is affecting me is ignorant, they think it's something to laugh at.
"It's a life affecting and life changing condition but people don't want to even try and understand," he said.
Although Jack has come to terms with Tourette's Syndrome he still doesn't go out in Devonport.
"I go to the cinema and swimming with my friends from this school but I don't go out in Devonport. All the bullies from my primary school are around there.
"I'm not shy but I have to rise above it and when I know what they're going to say and do I don't want to put myself in that position, I won't change their mind so I just have to get on with it," he said.
Jack has decided to improve the life of others with Tourette's Syndrome.
"If I didn't have this then I wouldn't be me. This has happened for good, this has happened because I can take it further and make it a success," he added.
When Jack turned 13 he spoke to David Farmer, his science teacher and also headteacher of Plymstock School, about what he wanted to do.
Mr Farmer said: "There was no doubt in his mind that he was going to succeed and he's done it.
"Early on Jack came to me with his idea and we worked together to make it happen.
"He wants to do it all for the right reasons. It's not for Jack, it's for all other people like him.
"He's looking at it for all other Tourette's sufferers. I'm very proud of him, he's making it happen himself."
Jack has created the Tourettes Awareness South West support charity for both adult and children Tourette's Syndrome sufferers.
The aims of the Tourettes Awareness South West charity are to offer information and advice to sufferers and their families who have little or no understanding of Tourette's Syndrome.
It is also to hold support sessions for groups of parents/carers and sufferers, both adults and children.
And Jack hopes to hold fundraising events like family days out, sponsored fun runs, walks and abseils for the charity.
"I have overcome the bullies and the low self esteem and have dedicated the last 12 months to setting up my charity," he said.
Jack has created and published the official website and hopes raise a non-profit fund of £5,000 in 12 months to become a regional registered charity.
Jack has had support from his mum and older sister Hannah, who have helped him to create handcrafted ribbons and they hope to create more merchandise in the future.
"My mum has never given up on me. My family, friends and school have been a great support so I want to thank them for all they've done for me.
"I want the website to start in Plymouth, move on to the South West and by starting small I want to go on to help people all over the country," he said.
For more information about the Tourette's Awareness charity, visit www.tourettesawareness.weebly.com or email email@example.com.
Alternatively you can 'like' the group on facebook on www.facebook.com/tourettesawareness.sw.
TOURETTE’S SYNDROME: the facts
TOURETTE’S Syndrome is a condition affecting the brain and nervous system.
It is characterised by involuntary, random sounds and movements, known as tics which usually begin in childhood.
Tics can be:
Vocal - making sounds, such as grunting, coughing or shouting out words
Motor - including jerking of the head or jumping up and down
Tics do not usually pose a serious threat to a person’s physical health, although physical tics, such as jerking of the head, can often be painful.
Children and adults affected by Tourette’s syndrome can experience associated problems such as social isolation, embarrassment and low self-esteem.
Tourette syndrome is named after Georges Gilles de la Tourette, who first described this disorder in 1885.