CITRUS COUNTY, Fla. — Living with a disability comes with its challenges — that is something one Citrus County teenager knows all too well.
What You Need To Know
- Jeremy Schreifels has had Tourette syndrome since he was a child
- While anxiety makes his tics worse, being on the basketball court has a calming influence on him
- He is currently raising money for deep brain stimulation surgery, which will hopefully help decrease his symptoms
If you meet Jeremy on one of his off days, there's a good chance you’ll see him tic within the first couple minutes
Jeremy would spend the day on the basketball court if he could, but most of the time he can’t because Jeremy has severe Tourette Syndrome
“I first noticed it age 3,” his mom, Jennifer Schreifels, said. “At age 5 we were at a store and I was looking at him, his eyes started to roll, I put him to bed that night, he got up with the tics really bad. The doctors said that he would eventually grow out of it but it just never did, it got worst.”
When you first meet Jeremy, you have to be a little patient, because the more he’s nervous or anxious around you, the longer his tics last
“I gotta learn how to think about it and control it too,” he said, “So, if anything that’s a step closer to curing my anxiety is talking about it.”
“He is an amazing young man,” Jennifer said, looking at her son. "I have to say man now because he just turned 18, usually it would be my little boy.”
One of Jeremy's comfort places is right on the basketball court where he’ll tell you he shares one of his fondest memories
“I had one of my first dates with my girlfriend here,” he said.
When he’s not on the basketball court, you may find him at the ice cream shop, just up the road spending time with his family, or maybe recording a new YouTube series, sharing his journey and inspiring others not to let a disability define who they are.
“There’s always light at the end of the tunnel and I am living proof of that,” he said.
Jeremy was strong enough to walk across the stage to accept his high school diploma.
With the help from many generous donors, he’s on track to receiving deep brain stimulation surgery, hopefully in August, that would help control his tics.
Jeremy has had several surgeries in the past to try and help his tics but nothing has worked.
The $130,000 surgery is currently not approved by the FDA.