Gov. Mario Cuomo Bridge lit up in teal for Tourette Syndrome Awareness Month
The Gov. Mario Cuomo Bridge was all lit up in teal as Saturday marked the start of Tourette Syndrome Awareness Month.
Tourette Syndrome Awareness Month runs from May 15 to June 15 in New York state and the bridge's lighting in teal serves as a sign of the ongoing commitment to changing perceptions of the often-misunderstood neurological condition.
As the bridge that links Westchester and Rockland counties glows in this very special color, 16-year-old Francesca Acampora, of the Tourette Association of America, wants the world to know this about those who live with Tourette syndrome.
"We're normal people, we have everyday lives, we go to school, we do sports, we're athletes, we're smart, we're just like everybody else," Acampora said.
Tourette syndrome affects more than 200,000 people nationwide. One out of every 160 children in the U.S. have the condition, and yet there's still much to learn about the neuro-developmental disorder.
"I think when people think of it, they think of cursing symptoms, which is actually very rare. To be diagnosed with Tourette, you have to have both motor and vocal tics. They're involuntary," said Dr. Helene Walisever, of the Tourette Association of America Hudson Valley Chapter.
After being bullied because of her disorder, 17-year-old Tourette Association of America Youth Ambassador Alexandra Cuttler, of Hartsdale, decided it was time to educate people about Tourette.
Cuttler came up with the bridge illumination idea in 2019 and saw her dream come true that same year. She was determined to make the lighting happen again this year.
"I did have to make a lot of calls, but the reception and the feedback I got was really great because everyone was really excited about the idea of raising awareness for Tourette," Cuttler said.
Another little-known fact about Tourette syndrome is that the disorder affects more boys than girls.
While medical research continues, there is no known cure at this time.