Mums’ road trip to highlight Tourettes

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Four mums who have children with Tourette’s syndrome are on a mission to raise awareness about the condition by visiting every city in England.

Liz Mielnik, 40, of Ashington, Jac Campbell, 50, of Ellington, Eileen Darling, 60, of Blyth, and Donna Emmerson, 30, of Hartlepool, will be driving to 52 cities in just over ten days, averaging five cities a day, as part of their Tourettes Awareness Challenge – Five-a-Day campaign.

The group plan to meet with the mayor or senior councillors in every city and hand over an information pack about the condition, covering health, education, work and social support.

They are hoping to launch the tour in Newcastle on Monday, September 30, and complete it 2,200 miles later on Thursday, October 10, in Carlisle.

The women, who will be wearing Tourettes Action charity t-shirts, have nine children and eight grandchildren between them, including six with Tourettes.

Eileen, who has both a son and a grandson with Tourettes and learning disabilities, said: “I think most people know that people with Tourettes make sounds and movements they can not help called tics.

“But what they don’t know is that more than 90 per cent of people with Tourettes have at least one other brain condition as well.”

The mums are now looking for companies to sponsor their marathon road trip to make sure it goes ahead.

Liz said: “We have raised £1,000 so far for the tour but we are really hoping that companies will come forward and help us out by loaning us a car, helping us with the costs of the information packs for local authorities or with other things like the petrol.

“We are making lots of phone calls and are hoping that people will support us through social media too like Facebook and JustGiving.”

Tourettes Action chief executive Suzanne Dobson said: “This campaign is a fantastic idea and very worthwhile.

“We need to greatly improve understanding of Tourettes amongst health, education and support services as well as with the general public.

“Sadly, too many people with Tourettes suffer stigma, isolation and lack of support.

“I do hope that companies will come forward and help the mums make this project the success it deserves to be.”