Dame Susan Devoy – DNZM CBE – Patron

Kia ora! I am delighted to become an ambassador for the Tourette’s Association of NZ and felt very privileged to be asked.

Over the years I have been involved in and supported many different groups and organisations. I have been blessed with good health as have my children, precious gifts that we all take for granted.

However, I believe that none of us know what’s around the corner and when we may need support and help. In this day and age it is hard to be heard above the clutter, every organisation is competing for the charitable dollar and for the opportunity to create awareness of the challenges people face living with a disability.

New Zealander’s are fair minded people, we believe in a fair go for all and I hope I can play my part in ensuring that those with Tourette’s have their voices heard.

Chance Raspberry – Ambassador

My name is Chance Raspberry. I’m an animator, musician and I have Tourette Syndrome. After being diagnosed at age eight and taking medication called Clonidine for 10 years, I managed to triumph over my struggles with TS through the help of God, family, and friends. Though I still experience tics today, I’ve learned to control them by harnessing my excess energy and focusing it on what I love the most – drawing!

I have spent the last seven years as a lead animator on The Simpsons, and most recently I have created and launched the pilot of my own animated sitcom, an original cartoon show called Little Billy. Little Billy is a nostalgic adventure sitcom about a four year-old boy with Special Needs (and the first cartoon to ever tackle this subject.) Although Billy does not specifically have Tourette’s, many of his symptoms and triggers resemble my own as a child growing up with TS in the 1980s. To learn more about Little Billy, please visit the cartoon’s official website at www.LittleBilly.com.

Thank you, and thanks a million to Tourette’s Association NZ for creating this wonderful online community! The ability to communicate with others who are going through similar challenges is a blessing, and I’m so glad sites like this exist today.

Ronnie Van Hout – Ambassador

My name is Ronnie van Hout and I am a multi-media visual artist. It is unusual for an artist to be invited to act as an ambassador for any organization, however, like many people living with Tourette’s, artists are often badly represented in the mainstream media. They are both commonly portrayed to promote laughter; as extreme people with no self-control.

People with Tourette’s are often depicted as people that swear constantly and say inappropriate things at inappropriate moments while the artist is often portrayed as a drunken madman and misunderstood genius.

The mutual relationship between myself and you, the members of the Tourette’s community, is a great way to end discrimination and together we can create more awareness of the issues facing people with Tourette’s through promotion, education and by challenging the misconceptions. The Tourette’s Association NZ and their website is a fantastic start.