Mother shares son's story of living with Tourette syndrome

Syndrome diagnosed in 3 out of every 1,000 children

Phil and Heidi Muddiman with their son Phillip
Phil and Heidi Muddiman with their son Phillip

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Heidi and Phil Muddiman took their son to the pediatrician several times when they noticed he would blink and sniffle more than usual.

"We thought it was allergies," said Phil Muddiman.

By the time their son was 9 years old, they discovered it was not something in the air that was making him have uncontrollable tics, but that Phillip had Tourette syndrome.

Tourette syndrome is a neurological condition that causes involuntary facial, motor and vocal tics.

"Phillip's tics usually consist of tapping, sniffing, facial movements," said his mother, Heidi.

Phillip, who is now 13 years old, does not have the vocal tics, which can be disruptive and jarring for those who do not know anything about the syndrome.

Heidi said she worries constantly about her son being bullied at school because of the condition, which can be genetic. Phillip's parents can't pinpoint who in their families may have passed the gene onto their son, because neither of them have the syndrome. They are, however, thankful he has a mild form of the condition.

"Some days you do not even notice his tics and, bam, it comes back and your heart breaks for him," Heidi said.

She wants to spread the word about Tourette syndrome and help raise money for research, which is why she is organizing the first annual Tourette syndrome run on Sunday, June 8. It starts at 9 a.m. at the Nocatee Greenway Trails in Ponte Vedra Beach. Fore more information, click here.

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