The Mighty Wall of Tics

Hello there Awesome Foundation.

I'm Kenneth Butland, and I'm the quirky marketing coordinator for the Tourette Syndrome Foundation of Canada (TSFC), a relatively small charity (we're a foundation in name only - I'm the whole marketing department and the de facto fundraiser, too!) that helps people affected by Tourette Syndrome (TS), a poorly understood, childhood-onset neurochemical disorder shared by up to 1 in 100 Canadians.

I've had a dream for two years now of 'erecting' a wall of tics: an online destination where people with TS can share and compare their tics.

'Why the heck would you want to do something that bizarre?' you're asking. The quick answer is because it's awesome, but I'll do my best to explain it in a little more detail.

Imagine that while growing up you were mocked for things you couldn't control, kind of like sneezing. Eventually you learned to suppress those things while in public despite the enormous stress of holding it in, and you grew to consider yourself a freak. Goodbye self-esteem. Then one day you discovered that someone else did the exact same thing, and not just one person: many! Suddenly you weren't alone anymore, suddenly you were sharing aspects of your life with others who felt the same way and understood you, suddenly you belonged to a special club and you felt less jealous of the 'normies', or perhaps not at all!

The bottom line is that social isolation causes suffering and social interaction brings about liberation from suffering, and that's what the wall of tics is: a vehicle for this vital communication to happen.

It hasn't been approved by our volunteer board of directors, not because it isn't awesome (it is), but because most of our tight budget goes to 'boring' stuff like e-learning advocacy projects and in-service program development.

Why is this idea so doable for $1,000? Because the perfect model for it already exists (
and because a dedicated website for it is already in place ( which receives 150-300 visitors every day. Golden!

Funded by Toronto (March 2011)