Tourette Association Of America Raises $70,000 At 2018 National Awareness 5K Run/Walk

Hundreds of participants help raise awareness for Tourette Syndrome

Amanda Talty, Executive Vice President and Interim CEO of the Tourette Association helps Walk Ambassador Blaise Urato and his mother Janice cut the ribbon

Press Release – (May 22, 2018 – Bayside, NY) – The Tourette Association of America, the premier national non-profit organization serving the Tourette Syndrome (TS) and Tic Disorder community, hosted the 2018 National Awareness 5K Run/Walk on Sunday, May 20, 2018 at Flushing Meadows Corona Park. More than 300 participants and spectators, including community leaders, medical and business professionals, athletes, families, and other advocates, gathered in Queens to support those living with Tourette Syndrome and other Tic Disorders. The event raised more than $70,000 to fund research and necessary programs, and foster social acceptance of Tourette Syndrome.

The event featured Gardiner Comfort, actor, as emcee, as well as Youth Ambassador Blaise Urato of Dix Hills, NY as the official 5K Run/Walk Ambassador who cut the ribbon to kick-off the event. Loren Brovarnik of TLC’s reality show “90 Day Fiancé,” ran in the event with her husband Alexei, and spoke at the closing ceremony.

For the first time, there was a certified 5K run which saw Cameron Figueroa as the first place male finisher, and Jena Grady as the first place female finisher. A Kids Fun Run took place with more than 20 young children, who were all awarded medals. Participants in the run/walk received free admission to the Hall of Science, Queens Zoo, and the Carousel at Flushing Meadows Corona Park following the walk/run.

“It truly is an amazing sight to see so many people from the Tourette Syndrome community come out to support National Tourette Syndrome Awareness Month, and help the TAA raise awareness and foster social acceptance of the condition that affects 1 in every 100 children between the ages of 5 and 17 years old,” said Amanda Talty, Interim CEO of the Tourette Association of America. “Each year, we surpass our fundraising goal and see more and more advocates come from all over the country for this heart-warming and fun event to provide encouragement and improve the lives of those living with Tourette Syndrome and other Tic Disorders.”

“I was officially diagnosed with Tourette syndrome during my first year of high school and I had a really hard time accepting that this would be something I would deal with for the rest of my life,” said Blaise Urato, official 5K Run/Walk Ambassador. “Having a supportive network of family and friends has helped me tremendously. Tourette Syndrome is only a small part of my life and it does not define me as a person.”

About Tourette Syndrome and Tics

Tourette Syndrome is part of a spectrum of hereditary, childhood-onset, neurodevelopmental conditions referred to as Tic Disorders. These conditions affect both children and adults, causing them to make sudden, uncontrollable movements and/or sounds called tics (e.g. head bobbing, arm jerking, shoulder shrugging and grunting). Non-tic features, such as obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and learning difficulties, often develop in affected individuals. Symptoms in Tic Disorders can range from mild to severe and, in some cases, can be self-injurious, debilitating and markedly reduce quality of life.

While some treatments are available for people with TS and other Tic Disorders, approaches to care are inconsistent, medications are often ineffective and there is no cure.

About the Tourette Association of America

Founded in 1972, the TAA is dedicated to making life better for all individuals affected by Tourette Syndrome and other Tic Disorders. The premier nationwide organization serving this community, the Association works to raise awareness, advance research and provide on-going support. The TAA directs a network of 32 Chapters and support groups across the country. For more information on Tourette Syndrome and Tic Disorders, call 1-888-4-TOURET and visit us at, and on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
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