“The average person has probably heard of Tourette Syndrome,” said Rachelle Brockman, the co-chair of Saskatoon’s Tourette’s syndrome Foundation of Canada’s resource unit. However, Brockman said most people’s ideas of the disease come from Hollywood punch lines.

The key to improving public perception and understanding of the disorder starts with awareness, Brockman said. “Education is key to understanding,” she said.

The first reported case of Tourette Syndrome was written in medical literature was in 1825. The recording was a description of the Marquise de Dampierre, a noblewoman who had both verbal and body tics. Her symptoms were later recorded in 1883 by Dr. Georges Gilles de la Tourette, the French Neurologist for whom the disorder is named. She lived to be 86.

Tourette syndrome is neurological disorder where people suffer from tics, an involuntary, rapid movement or vocalizations that repeat. Doctors haven’t established what causes the disorder, and there is currently no cure.

While tics are described as “involuntary”, most people that suffer from the disorder do have some control over their symptoms. Control ranges from seconds to hours, and certain people may only be able to delay their symptoms and to a more severe outburst of tics at a later time.

According to the Tourette Syndrome Foundation of Canada, recording the number of people with the disorder is difficult because many people with the disorder are yet to be diagnosed.

Rachelle Brockman started the Saskatoon resource unit of the Tourette Syndrome Foundation of Canada after meeting another Saskatoon mother who’s child suffered from the disorder at a national conference.

“We were very excited to meet each other, and a little emotional,” said Brockman. “The number one thing we realized upon going to the national conference was how incredible it is to meet other families living with Tourette’s,” she said.

In March 2012, the two came together to create the resource unit and held the city’s first Trek for Tourette. Brockman said the event brought together over 100 people and raised $10,000.

The resource unit is looking forward to using their funding to create more awareness in the community, as well as using it to support fellow families living with the disorder.

Brockman said planning for the second Trek is already underway.

For those in the community looking for support for Tourette Syndrome, the Saskatoon resource unit is on Facebook.

“Right now our followings pretty low, but that doesn’t mean people aren’t looking,” Brockman said.