Tourette’s Awareness Walk held in Evansville

Tourette’s Awareness Walk held in Evansville
Published: May. 21, 2023 at 12:21 PM CDT|Updated: May. 21, 2023 at 8:31 PM CDT
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - A 5K walk, food trucks, face painting and bouncy houses brought out families and friends working to bring awareness to Tourette’s syndrome.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1.4 million people in the U.S. are diagnosed with the neurological disorder.

The parents of 5-year-old Pierce Fleming say he is the primary inspiration for Evansville’s inaugural Tourette’s Awareness Walk. Pierce’s father, Ryan Fleming, says they noticed signs of motor tics as early as 3 years old. The Fleming family says this is about supporting their son and others diagnosed with the condition.

“We noticed that he was having certain types of tics or TS, and we would notice it during stressful situations or times in which he was nervous and he would kind of act out,” said Ryan.

Ryan says Pierce started cognitive testing at Easterseals Community and Disability Services and was later sent to Riley Hospital. He says Pierce was diagnosed with Tourette’s, ADHD and anxiety disorder.

Others living with the condition, like Liliana Wesbecher, say they got the chance to engage with more people like themselves at the walk.

“Well I’ve never really known many people with Tourette’s especially people my own age,” said Wesbecher. “So this is like this is a great opportunity for me to meet other people, talk about like their experiences and share advice with each other.”

As someone who lives with Tourette’s, Wesbecher says the symptoms of the condition can come and go. She says there are “high and low points.”

“The more stressed you can be the more aggressive it can come out basically just because someone is not exhibiting tics at the moment does not mean that they are faking it,” said Wesbecher.

Pierce’s mom, Stephanie Flemings, says this is the first walk, but they are going to do it again next year.

Click here to get more information on Pierce’s life journey and how his family works to bring awareness to his condition.