How terrified would you be if your ordinarily active, healthy teen daughter woke up from a nap one day with symptoms of Tourette's Syndrome? How much more terrified would you be if the same thing happened to 11 other girls from your daughter's high school ... and no one could explain why? As a parent I'd be scared, no doubt about it, but more than anything else, I'd be desperate for answers and furious that I wasn't getting any.
That's what moms Melissa Phillip and Elizabeth Miller want: Answers. And I don't blame them. Phillip's daughter Thera Sanchez and Miller's daughter Katie Krautwurst are 2 of the 13 students at LeRoy Junior-Senior High School in upstate New York to develop a mysterious movement disorder, seemingly overnight. Their daily lives are now plagued with a host of tics and stuttering and outbursts that have forced them to give up all the things they used to love doing, from art to cheerleading to simply attending school.
Coincidence? I think not. Yet officials insist they've found no connection between the cases.
Okay, moms, question: How many of you would settle for that explanation?
Exactly. None of you would, because what the school and the NY Department of Health told Phillip, Sanchez, and the other parents can't even be considered an explanation. Authorities say each girl has undergone the same type of testing; parents say that's simply not true -- treatment has been individualized. Parents have also been assured of extensive environmental testing. Says Dr. Gregory Young of the NY DoH:
“We have conclusively ruled out any form of infection or communicable disease and there’s no evidence of any environmental factor."
But parents say they've received no test results, no data, no proof of any kind that the above is true. And I don't see how it possibly could be true. Sure, the illness might be "stress-induced," as the girls' individual physicians have suggested. But even if that is the case, as a parent, I would still want answers: How much academic or social pressure was my kid under in the first place for her body to react in such an extreme manner?
So far, these parents' questions continue to go unanswered. And so, their children continue to suffer.
Do you think these parents will ever find out the truth about their teens' illness?
Image via Lori Grieg/Flickr