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North City News: Tourette's star a hero to city boy.

Byline: By Alison Dayani

A BIRMINGHAM lad with Tourette Syndrome has been receiving tips on how to cope from a celebrity fellow-sufferer.

Pete Bennett, who won this year's Big Brother, shared his experiences with nine-year-old Max Ashdown.

Max, whose family live in Erdington, was diagnosed with the condition 18 months ago and was at a Tourette Syndrome Association meeting when he met his TV idol.

"Pete told us one of the main reasons for going into the Big Brother house was to raise awareness of this very misunderstood condition," said Sally, who also has an 11-year-old son, Jacob.

"Pete was every bit the character we saw in Big Brother and every bit as genuine." Tourette Syndrome is a genetic medical condition characterised by involuntary vocal and physical tics, but only a small percentage of sufferers swear involuntarily.

Max, who grew up in Acocks Green, has moved to Ross-on-Wye, but still travels to Birmingham Children's Hospital for treatment.

"My son had his first tics at the age of two and we passed them off as habits, but then he began to have uncontrollable rages," said Sally, aged 37.

"Doctors sent me away and told me to stop worrying. "Max was finally diagnosed when he was eight and I was so relieved. We went through hell."

More information on the condition is available from the Tourette Syndrome Association helpline, 0845 4581252.

CAPTION(S):

HAPPY TALK... Big Brother winner Pete Bennett with Max Ashdown and his big brother, Jacob.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Nov 27, 2006
Words:246
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