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New Canaan Man Finds Success Overcoming Challenges Of Tourette Syndrome

Video featuring 2016 Tourette Association Gala Honorees Jeanne and Tom Gnuse.
Video featuring 2016 Tourette Association Gala Honorees Jeanne and Tom Gnuse. Video Credit: Tourette Association of America
Video featuring Tourette Association Youth Ambassadors.
Video featuring Tourette Association Youth Ambassadors. Video Credit: Tourette Association of America

NEW CANAAN, Conn. -- The Tourette Association of America (TAA) honored the Gnuse family from New Canaan at its Annual Gala on Monday, Nov. 14, at Gotham Hall in New York City.

Tom Gnuse is a New Canaan Community Foundation board member who has lived with Tourette motor and vocal tics all his life until finally being diagnosed at the age of 42.

In an effort to support research for earlier diagnosis, the Gnuse family has been generous supporters of TAA for more than 30 years. The family's story was captured in a video featuring Jeanne and Tom Gnuse, which showcased their perseverance, dedication and success despite the challenges that TS has brought them.

The Annual Gala is the largest event geared toward raising awareness for Tourette syndrome (TS), a disorder that is often incorrectly portrayed in the media, remains underdiagnosed, and is frequently stigmatized, according to a release from TAA.

The gala brought together celebrities, socialites and individuals, with and without TS, to successfully raise more than $750,000 in support of the organization’s mission to identify the cause of, control the effects of, and to find a cure for TS.

“We are so grateful for the immense show of support we witnessed at our Annual Gala by the individuals and families committed to making life better for all individuals affected by Tourette and Tic Disorders,” said John Miller, Tourette Association president and chief executive officer. “As the largest fundraising event for Tourette Syndrome, the TAA gala gives us the opportunity to spotlight the need for awareness, while bringing us one step closer to better treatment options and a cure.”

The highlight of the gala was a special video presentation featuring TAA Youth Ambassadors, teens trained to raise awareness for TS. Each teen gave the audience a unique glimpse into a day in the life of someone with TS, and shared inspirational stories of not letting Tourette define who they are.

The gala featured performances by special guest David Friedman, a renowned film and theater composer. Despite his struggles to cope with TS all his life,  Friedman has left a major mark in all areas of show business with multi-platinum recordings, Broadway shows, Disney Animated Films, television scores and a teaching and lecturing career that spans the nation, the release said.

The association also honored Dr. Stanley Fahn, who has dedicated his professional career to advancing care, research and the development of treatments for adults and children with neurological conditions, including Parkinson’s disease, dystonia, tremors, as well as Tourette and other tic disorders.

Founded in 1972, the Tourette Association of America is dedicated to making life better for all individuals affected by Tourette and Tic Disorders. The premier nationwide organization serving the New Canaan community, the Association works to raise awareness, advance research and provide ongoing support.

For more information on Tourette and Tic Disorders, call 1-888-4-TOURET and visit tourette.org.

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