Hartlepool mum in UK Tourettes awareness tour

Donna Emmerson, Jac Campbell, Eileen Darling and Liz Mielnik. The four mums who have toured the country to raise awareness of Tourette's. Photograph by the picturebook studio.

Donna Emmerson, Jac Campbell, Eileen Darling and Liz Mielnik. The four mums who have toured the country to raise awareness of Tourette's. Photograph by the picturebook studio.

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A HARTLEPOOL woman has finished a national tour to raise greater awareness of Tourette Syndrome.

Mother-of-three Donna Emmerson, 31, was one of four North-East mums to take on the gruelling challenge of visiting 52 English cities in 11 days.

They covered 2,200 miles, met the mayors of major cities, and handed over information packs in an epic journey which came to an end yesterday in Carlisle.

But more importantly, they raised the profile of the condition which they believe is hugely misunderstood.

Donna, whose eight-year-old son Kristian has both vocal and motor ticks, said: “There is no cure for Tourettes. The cure for us is stamping out the ignorance about it.

“Kristian knows what he has. He understands that his brain makes him do these voluntary things.”

She said he is aware that people are looking at him if he has a tick in public.

Donna said the aim was to spread information about Tourettes as well as supporting children and adults with the illness.

Tourette’s is an inherited, neurological condition, which sees sufferers often develop involuntary ticks and movements.

Car manufacturer Nissan sponsored the trip and gave the group the use of a Qashqai as well as paying for 10 days’ worth of insurance to make their way through the country.

Donna, 31, a mum-of-three to Kristian, Lauren, 11, and Savannah, three, and who works as a home-based tutor of distance learning, said: “Hopefully we have made a difference by doing this.

“People are promising us that they will put measures in place and disseminate information to front line staff.”

Joining Donna was Eileen Darling, Liz Mielnik and Jac Campbell. They all have children with the genetic condition. All the mums have been keen to emphasise that 90 per cent of sufferers do not suffer involuntary swearing.

Earlier this year, Donna held a ladies charity night at the Belle Vue Social Club, in Hartlepool, complete with stilt walkers, fire breathers and loads of other entertainment. It raised an impressive £1,786.

Today, she said her latest round-the-UK venture had been “an amazing journey.

For more information on the syndrome, visit tourettes-action.org.uk

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