After spending the first six months of his life in St. Louis Children’s Hospital, undergoing seven experimental surgeries, Marc became known as the “miracle baby.”
However, Marc’s challenges did not end after he left the hospital. At the age of nine, he was diagnosed with Tourette syndrome, a neurological disorder that causes him to make involuntary motor and vocal tics. As Marc grew older, his tics manifested in many different ways, from “ticcing” inappropriate words to blurting out random noises, including barking like a dog and chomping his teeth.
Over the next 10 years, Marc struggled to live a normal life in the suburbs of St. Louis. Aside from the scars that stretched across his abdomen and the frequent outbursts of tics and offensive language, Marc lived with a special enthusiasm for life. He was a talented thespian, was active in tons of sports, and even was elected student body president of his high school. Marc attended Washington University in St. Louis, where he majored in biology and pursued a pre-medicine path in hopes of following in the footsteps of the pediatric surgeon who saved his life.
After graduating in May 2008, Marc embarked on a nationwide speaking tour. The tour was intended as “just something to do” before he became a doctor. His subject was tolerance. In his presentation, “What Makes You Tic?” he drew on his experiences of not fitting in, of not feeling comfortable with others, to discuss fundamental lessons about tolerance—how to live with our own and others’ differences. Little did he know this would become his calling.
Over the past three years, Marc has spoken to hundreds of groups and organizations, reaching out to more than 100,000 individuals in the United States and internationally. At the age of 26, Marc has now found a way to use his own story, his triumph over handicaps, as a way of helping individuals around the world find their own path to tolerance—for themselves and others.