Team Up for Tourette’s: Interview with Devin Denicola
Denicola Enterprises, along with ScholasTICS Tourette Supporters and Southern California Tourette Association, is putting on their annual Team Up for Tourette’s Red Carpet Brunch & Fundraiser on June 9th. The event will be held at Preux & Proper in Downtown Los Angeles from 12-5PM. The founder of Denicola Enterprises and producer of the event, Devin Denicola, took the time to speak with me about the charity event as well as its beginning.
Devin began with explaining his past with Tourette’s. “I was diagnosed with Tourette’s when I was seven years old. It was fairly new back then. Not many people knew what it was so everything was trial and error with medications, treatments, things like that. I was on over thirty different medications from age seven to age nineteen or twenty. With these medications came many side effects from severe weight gain, seizures, lack of sleep, depression, a whole bunch of things that kids shouldn’t have to go through. After many years of going through everything, I was finally able to find a medication that helped me out. [It] gave me a 180 degree turn in the right direction. Since then, I’ve been focusing on trying to figure out a way that I can help other people with Tourette’s.” He described to me how, considering his history with the condition, he has a clear understanding of not only the experience of someone with Tourette’s, but of the toll it takes on caretakers as well. Denicola kept this in mind when working out the logistics of the event, stating how the day and time of the brunch makes it more accessible to working caretakers.
Denicola stressed the importance of acknowledging Tourette’s as more than how it is typically portrayed. “A lot of people think Tourette’s is just a simple twitch or jerk, but it can be extremely severe. I’ve seen kids that have gone to the emergency room from hitting themselves so hard against the wall or punching the wall and breaking a wrist or actually punching family members because they can’t help it.” For Denicola, the spreading of this acknowledgement is just as important as the funds raised. “The whole goal is not just to raise money for these charities, but awareness. The main goal is to inform and educate.”
During our conversation, Denicola expressed how word of mouth is the best way to spread this information. This being said, we can all do our part to share informed knowledge with others, increasing awareness. In addition, you may also attend the event, or similar ones, to show your support. For tickets to the Red Carpet Brunch & Fundraiser:
By Mercedes Banwart