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Finding A Passion to Overcome Tourette's

MOUNT VERNON, IA (CBS2/FOX28)-Five families spent the weekend at a special camp focused on a disorder they face everyday.

One teenager at the camp said finding a passion helps him cope with the challenges he faces.

"Music really helps me," Ethan Hazelwood said.

Ethan has his passions from counting numbers to listening to rock metal and playing his guitar.

When Ethan was three, he was diagnosed with Tourette's Syndrome.

Ethan's dad said this disorder brings out different behaviors.

"As a parent, it's an interesting road because it's always changing," Martin Hazelwood said. "You might have one thing that's going on that's really significant at that time and then something else will come along. It really does teach you a lot of patience."

To make things a little easier, Tanager Place created a Tourette's Camp for kids like Ethan and their families.

They learned how to tackle tics, meet others and relax.

"One of the beauties itself in camp is camp is just a place where everyone is accepted for who they are and how they are," Camp Director Donald Pirrie said.

Pirrie said this is a place where anyone can shine and escape from bullying or feeling rejected.

"And with that, the kids were able to be themselves," he said.

"It's a great time for kids to relax and it's great awareness," Martin said.

Ethan said it's all about finding something to keep your mind off the disorder.

"I was like what's my passion," Ethan said.

Ethan has accumluated several passions over the years but he has found music has been his guide to get through the hard days.

"It does get better even though you're going through a whole lot of crap but you'll get through the hard times," he said.

It was the first year for Tanager Place's Tourette's Camp.

Camp organizers said they hope to open the camp up to more families struggling with Tourette's next year.

To find out more about what Tanager Place is doing here is there website: http://www.tanagerplace.org/

 
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