Making a Difference: Sophomore Finds Help, Helps Others

by Grace Schwenneker | Class of 2020 | and Payton Sherwood | Class of 2019 | Dec. 19, 2016

   Sniff. Cough. Much to his dismay, sophomore Sam Hanson has been sniffing and coughing ever since he was little.

 

   “I couldn’t control it,” said Hanson. His family took him to see a doctor last year, and they got a diagnosis that no one was

expecting: Tourette’s.

 

   Tourette’s is a neurological disorder involving repeating unnecessary sounds or movements called tics. There are more than 200,000 cases of Tourette’s every year in the United States.

 

   Tourette’s cannot be cured, but it doesn’t have to last your whole life. The cases have varying degrees of length and intensity. It could only last a couple of years, or it could last a lifetime.

 

   “At first I was mad and upset because I felt different from everybody else,” said Hanson.

 

   At first, living with Tourette’s was a struggle for Hanson. There was always the fear of being made fun of or being bullied for not being able to control his body. Unfortunately, he has experienced them both.

 

   “Some days, when people talk bad or make fun of Tourette’s, it makes me wish I didn’t have it, it makes me wish I wasn’t different,” said Hanson.

 

   But as time went on he grew to accept his condition. Today, Hanson isn’t shy about Tourette’s. 

 

   In fact, he has openly shared his story on his YouTube channel, GreenHill Productions, which has 311 subscribers. His most viewed video is about his life with Tourette’s and has gotten over 1,912 views to date.

 

   “The camera is like a counselor, somebody I can talk to and tell all of my feelings to and they just listen,“ said Hanson.

 

   The 15 year old has over 80 videos on his channel, and he posts consistently, often making three videos a week. These 7-10 minute videos can take an hour and a half to edit.

 

   He has found that not only has making these videos helped him dealing with Tourette’s, but it has helped others.

 

   “There are many people with the same condition as me who aren’t as comfortable,” said Hanson. “That’s why I made the video so that those who aren’t as comfortable can see it and become comfortable.”

 

   Since his diagnosis, Hanson has come full circle. Said Hanson, “Now I’m very proud of my Tourette’s and nothing anybody says will ever change that because I know it makes me special. It’s a part of me, and I wouldn’t be the same without it.”