Christchurch mum Robyn Twemlow is out to make a difference in the lives of those diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome – and last week received $10,000 from the Mazda Foundation to aid her cause.
Tourette’s is a condition characterised by tics, repetitive and involuntary movements.
Five years ago, Ms Twemlow’s then-nine-year-old daughter Analise was diagnosed with the syndrome.
But the pair found there was little support for them in the community.
Ms Twemlow founded the Tourette’s Association of New Zealand as a way for her family to connect with other affected Kiwis.
As well as running a support system for families and an information hub for those who have been recently diagnosed, the Tourette’s Association also began running a yearly camp called Camp Twitch.
It brings together young people with Tourette’s and their families for a weekend of fun where their tics are welcomed.
At Blackwells City Mazda last week Ms Twemlow was presented with $10,000 from the Mazda Foundation to help run Camp Twitch, enabling more than 50 young people and their families to attend the camp.
Ms Twemlow said the funding would reduce the financial stress of families living with Tourette’s and allows young people from any financial background to attend the camp.
She said Camp Twitch is an environment where children can “tic loud and proud.”
“It’s amazing to see them build their self-esteem and take ownership over their disorder. It also provides opportunity for parents to share their experiences of raising a child with Tourette Syndrome – so it’s an empowering experience for all involved.”