What am I Doing?
Committing to wear wizard attire from January 1, 2011 until the release of the final Harry Potter movie (approximately 200 days) to raise funds and awareness for Tourette Syndrome.
Why am I Doing This?
I was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome in the seventh grade and was bullied constantly. Kids would try to push my buttons, because they thought I would react “funny.” I was spit upon on the school bus, physically pushed around in the hallway, and attacked with Lysol to the point where I would have Asthma attacks. With Tourettes, I was one of the “weird” kids. I had few real friends and I often felt lonely. I wanted kids to like me, but I couldn’t change who I was. I suffered from depression for years. I didn’t think people would ever be able to see the real me; the one behind the Tourettes. Luckily, help came when I least expected it.
The 5th Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was released the summer before I started middle school. In the story, Harry faced discrimination and isolation for something he said he saw happen. I related to Harry’s loneliness. We both at times felt like we had no one to talk to. Harry stayed true to himself, and at the end of the novel, everyone realized that he was telling the truth. I knew that if I stayed true to myself and kept on going, one day, everyone would see me for who I really am. Over the years when I felt depressed or lonely, I would find comfort in his stories. His magic helped me overcome my depression.
I have always been “the Harry Potter girl.” In 2009, when the Harry Potter fan site, MuggleNet.com announced that they were looking for the first “Fan of the Year,” I knew I had to enter. I made a Facebook group and told everyone at school. I was incredibly amazed and touched by the response I received. The kids, who had once bullied me, were now going on and voting daily. I knew that even if I didn’t win, the support I received from my peers was enough. But, I did win. My life had changed drastically all because of Mr. Potter.
With the release date of the final movie approaching, I wanted to do something to pay tribute to J.K. Rowling’s vision, while raising funds and awareness for Tourettes.
Follow me on www.twitter.com/LizRiesterer and www.youtube.com/LizRiesterer for updates on my journey. I will be posting videos as often as I can.