From Long Island to Capitol Hill: Rebecca’s journey to national youth advocacy

Rebecca Caron - Patchogue, NY

It was late in the afternoon when I joined the call, and Rebecca was bright, cheerful, and ready to chat. I shared my expectations of the interview’s duration, to which she replied that she was giving a Tourette syndrome presentation later that night, and had another one the next day — in total, seven presentations that week! I was immediately struck with her passion for helping others and the depth of her self awareness, but what struck me most was her humility.

Diagnosed with Tourette syndrome at 13, Rebecca remembers having tics as far back as Kindergarten, but didn’t know what was causing them. According to Rebecca's mom, Susan, it took a long time for Tourette syndrome to have a name. “Before that happened, we were in limbo. Now that her condition has a name, Rebecca has grabbed it by the horns and run with it!”

Tourette syndrome is a neurological disorder characterized by involuntary tics and vocalizations.

For the past three years, Rebecca has served as a Youth Advocate for the Tourette Association of America, but her passion for volunteering took hold when her grandma introduced her to a local support group after her diagnosis. Through the support group, Rebecca has made many close friends and has traveled throughout New York to help build awareness of Tourette syndrome in an effort to combat bullying. She learned about the national organization’s Youth Advocate program, and after attending training in DC, along with other teens with Tourette syndrome from across the country, Rebecca has made it her mission to educate others.

“I’m a normal kid who’s just had a little bump in the road but can show people that, no matter what, you can make the best out of a bad situation.” - Rebecca Caron

Rebecca will be the recipient of the 2019 Yes I Can Award for School & Community Activities on Friday, February 1st, at the 2019 CEC Yes I Can Awards in Indianapolis. Nominated by Natalie Joseph-Pauline of the Tourette Association of America, Rebecca was also featured on Long Island’s News12 — 12 Making a Difference — for her impact on the local community.

“It makes me so happy to see her trying to improve the lives of other people who are living with Tourette syndrome. She’s so nurturing, and it’s amazing as a mom to see!” - Susan Caron.

Learn more about Tourette syndrome at