Jane Hamilton, a student at Century High School, Minnesota, has Tourette Syndrome, which is a disorder of the nervous system that can cause involuntary vocalizations and movements, which are commonly known as tics. To learn more about Tourette syndrome, click here.
Jane, only fourteen years old, has already done a lot to show the world that her Tourette syndrome is never going to get in her way. This year, she tried out for her high school’s cheerleading team—and made it. She’s already found that being on the squad has improved her own life, as she always used to feel in the background in past school years. Another bonus is that her being a part of the team raises awareness of the syndrome.
She even recently put on a presentation to her school to help her peers understand what Tourette syndrome really was—as opposed to the way it’s often portrayed in the media. This brave teen marched on even when some of the other students responded badly to one of her tics that happened during her presentation.
They just started laughing at me as I was presenting, and that wasn’t very fun, but I kept going and I got pretty choked up during that.
Jane says that her Tourette syndrome has changed throughout her life, going from severe to fairly mild as she grew older. Now, her tics usually occur up from her shoulder to her earlobe, and often involve rapid blinking.
Despite her immense courage and hard work she puts into cheerleading, Jane was never completely without doubt; at first, she feared she would face judgment from her fellow students, but when she realized that she had become a representative of the syndrome within her school, she refused to back down. She knows that the prevalent images of Tourette Syndrome paint a picture of someone who is very impeded in life, but she is living proof that isn’t true.
“I think I can do a lot of stuff that people don’t think I can do.”
To hear more about Jane’s bravery and drive, check out her story here.