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Walkers Raise Awareness For Tourettes Syndrome
People took chances on several Escalon sports-themed prize baskets at the annual Tourettes Awareness Walk on Saturday.

With a brisk breeze but sunny skies, walkers by the dozens took off from Escalon’s Main Street Park on Saturday morning in an effort to raise awareness about Tourette’s Syndrome.

The 5k route left from the park on Main Street and turned on to First, walking along First Street to Brennan Avenue, then turning on to California, crossing over to Walnut and ultimately returning to First Street and then back to the Main Street Park.

Along the way, there were several stations set up to provide granola bars, water, small trinkets for kids, squirt guns, informational sheets regarding Tourette’s and more.

The McCulloch family of Escalon, in cooperation with the Escalon Kiwanis Club, Key Club and Key Club advisor Rick Heflin, put on the event this year. Dad Iain McCulloch took the microphone shortly after 9 a.m. Saturday to welcome the crowd and give some history surrounding the event.

“Four years ago … my son literally went to school one day and came home with Tourette’s,” he explained of son Keegan, 11, a student at El Portal Middle School. “But it’s not what you think … science has opened so many doors … one in 100 children have Tourette’s Syndrome or a tic disorder.”

It is also hereditary, he said, with parents having a 50 percent chance of passing it on.

In their family, he joked, wife Amy was quick to say “It’s you” when they learned that a parent could have the disorder and pass it on.

“It would explain some things growing up,” McCulloch admitted, chuckling.

Iain, Amy and their three children including Keegan, 9-year-old Kade and 6-year-old Fiona, were all there to participate.

The goal of the walk, McCulloch added, is to make all in the community more aware.

“Our goal is just to kind of make you aware of what kids out there are dealing with,” he said.

And while the Saturday walk was designed to provide information about Tourette’s, McCulloch said it is just one of many things that can make life tougher.

“Whether it’s Tourette’s or diabetes, we all deal with something,” he explained. “Be a little more compassionate … be a little more understanding. Gosh, this world would be a better place.”

A scholarship presented this year from funds raised previously through the awareness walk went to senior Yajaira Salinas and winners of the various Cougar sports-themed baskets available during a raffle drawing on Saturday were Peyton Arnold, football basket; Caryn Ball, wrestling basket and baseball basket; Samari Webster, softball basket.