A young football fan from Ancrum has been learning to cope with Tourette Syndrome (TS) with the help of family, friends and Everton goalie Tim Howard.
Rory Brown, 10, was diagnosed with the condition – which causes both vocal and physical tics – last July, but instead of letting it get him down, the hardy Hearts supporter has been looking to likewise afflicted people to help him cope.
“Rory discovered that Tim Howard also has the condition and has idolised him since,” explained mum Lisa.
“He got a copy of Tim’s autobiography for Christmas and it has been of great comfort to Rory that someone with his condition has achieved so much.”
A primary six pupil at Parkside Primary School in Jedburgh, Rory has always been a big football fan and goes to as many home Hearts matches as possible with his dad, Gordon, a lifelong Jambo.
Rory’s ambition is to be a footballer or be involved in the game in some way when he is older. He currently plays for Ancrum FC 11s and has been a member of the club since he was five.
Last month, Lisa discovered that a friend’s daughter was a friend of Howard and she arranged to have a parcel sent from the Everton keeper.
“We are so grateful to her because Rory was very excited when a parcel with the Everton shirt, football and goalie gloves, all signed with the message ‘Rory, dream big, Tim Howard’, arrived,” said Lisa.
Tourette Syndrome used to be considered a rare condition. However, it’s now thought that it affects around one in every hundred people – many of whom don’t realise they have it. It is impossible for sufferers to control or stop their noises or twitches.
Lisa added: “People associate TS with swearing, but in actual fact only a small percentage of people with TS experience this.
“Rory, unfortunately, does have it which can be embarrassing for him when we are in public, but it is something that we have just had to get used to.
“Rory sees Dr Donna Paxton at the Andrew Lang Centre on a fortnightly basis to help him to cope with the condition and she has been a fantastic support.
“Family, particularly Rory’s big brother Harry (14) and his grandparents and friends too, have been amazing, and we just have to take each new situation as it crops up. We don’t treat Rory any differently because he has the condition, but it can be challenging for him and us.”
For more information about TS visit: www.tourette scotland.org