Hackney pub supports youngster with Tourette’s Syndrome

A Homerton pub is hosting a fundraiser for a youngster with the debilitating condition Tourette’s Syndrome next Saturday (April 28).

A Homerton pub is hosting a fundraiser for a youngster with the debilitating condition Tourette’s Syndrome next Saturday (April 28).

The Adam and Eve pub in Homerton High Street will put on bingo, a raffle and give out free cake in honour of eight-year old Sam McLaughlin, with all proceeds going to his chosen charity Tourette’s Action, which they raised �500 for last year.

Tourette’s syndrome affects the brain and nervous system by causing tics, which are repeated, uncontrollable erratic movements and jerks or strange sounds or squeals.

Just 10 per cent of sufferers swear, and Sam is one of them.

“To some extent he has learned to suppress his urge to bleat out an obscenity, by saying it rapidly or almost rounding its ending into a softer sound, but it is discernible once you become aware,” said his 34-year old mum Tracy, who was brought up in Glyn Road.

“If you talk to Sam for any length of time, you will realise that once he thinks a thought, or a feeling, or a sound, he must express it.

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“Sometimes he ‘moos’ and ‘barks’ in class, or when the family are shopping or at the cinema.”

It is not only thoughts but actions too which are affected, and Tourettes sufferers engage in a lot of risk taking behaviour like crossing the road dangerously, because they need to act out everything which comes into their heads.

The family were devastated when Sam was officially diagnosed with Tourettes last year, although he had monitored since the age of three – but now Tracy is determined to raise awareness of his condition.

“Sam will have an urgent need to deal with a ‘tic’, which is a strange feeling of itchiness or discomfort in his body, through rapid movement or scratching in the afflicted area, or tensing his muscles,” explained Tracy.

“It’s like having a sneeze, you can suppress it for a bit but eventually it has to come out, and for 10 minutes or so an hour he has to have an outburst, occasionally he will save them up and go to a private place and do what he needs to do.

“He could be dealing with up to 50 of these tics at any one time; some last a second, and others persist sporadically over several months.

“He deals with it amazingly for an eight-year old but he has the kind of personality to carry it off.”

Limited medication exists such as Ritalin, which is more commonly associated with ADHD, but his family regard it as a last resort.

“Tourette’s isn’t that easy to deal with, but the community have been so supportive with my son’s illness.”

To donate to Sam’s charity, go to www.justgiving.com/Sam-Mclaughlin