Derby Event To Raise Scholarship Money For Students With Tourette Syndrome


By: David DiPino Contributing Writer
Kelsey Diamantis dreams of one day going to the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs Racetrack but until that day comes she has a better idea, bring the excitement of the races here locally to raise money for Tourette syndrome, a nervous system disorder.
Diamantis’ organization Dollars 4 Tic Scholars will host D4TS Derby, A Night at the Races, at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, February 25, at the South County Civic Center, 16700 Jog Road in Delray Beach. This Kentucky Derby-themed scholarship fundraiser helps raise money to fund college scholarships for students with Tourette syndrome. The event will include horse races on video, dinner, beer and wine, raffles, and a silent auction.
“My mom and I bounced a lot of ideas back and forth with each other. I’ve always wanted to go to the Kentucky Derby so we said let’s bring the Kentucky Derby here and that’s how it came about,” Diamantis said.
Diamantis, 25, is a fourth grade teacher at St. Joan of Arc Catholic School in Boca Raton. She and her mother, Diane Diamantis, started Dollars 4 Tic Scholars in 2014 to fund scholarships and create opportunities for students with Tourette syndrome. As a nervous system disorder, Tourette syndrome causes tics, or involuntary, repetitive movements and vocalizations.
At the age of 11, Diamantis was diagnosed with Tourette syndrome.
At a similar event last year, Dollars 4 Tic Scholars raised over $5,800 to fund five scholarships for college students across the U.S with a fundraiser at the South County Civic Center featuring comedienne Chelsea White. One of the students benefitting from the scholarships is Hannah Rusinko, a freshman attending Denison University in Granville, Ohio. Rusinko is studying biology with a concentration in Neuroscience.
“My future goal is to become a pediatric neurologist. I want to help in the study of Tourette syndrome and one day find a cure,” Rusinko said.
When applying to college, Rusinko began looking up scholarships for students with Tourette syndrome. The only scholarship she came across for students with Tourette syndrome was Diamantis’ Dollars 4 Tic Scholars scholarship. The other Dollars 4 Tic Scholars recipients benefiting from $1,000 scholarships with money raised from last year’s event include Rachel Retchless, Central Washington University, Joshua Green, Trevecca Nazarene University, Jakob Rose, Cleveland Institute of Art and Malik Jackson, Longwood University.
“I think it’s absolutely amazing what Kelsey and her mom are doing especially because there were not any other scholarships for people with Tourette’s syndrome,” Rusinko said. “It. It inspired me to want to do the same thing when I’m older. I want to give more students an opportunity like I had. It’s really amazing.”
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