Fall 2014 Tour Recap

Legends Speaking Tour

The Fall Legends Tour motored over 600 miles to four upstate New York colleges, Binghamton University, Elmira College, Ithaca College and Syracuse University. Hundreds of students turned out to learn about OCD and the mission of the JCK Foundation. We would like to give a big thanks to the local Active Minds Chapters at each school who helped us to setup and advertise for the presentations. We were greeted with open arms as we were the first mental health advocates to speak on campus.

Each presentation begins with the showing of the documentary: "Heroes Get Remembered Legends Never Die”. By the end of the documentary there is not a dry eye in the house.  John Tessitore, dressed in his JCK Legends T-shirt bursts on to the stage greeting the crowd with "How's everyone doing today?!?" He then proceeds to tell his story about OCD and his partnership with JCK to help defeat his own OCD. His story is both powerful and persuasive as he forms a bond with the student audience. Dr Stephen Kelly, who is JCK's father , follows and speaks about the biological basis of OCD and how it affected his son. A question and answer period follows which address the issues facing the students in the audience.

The highlights of the presentations are the small personal discussions with passionate students which often last late into the night. This year the JCK Foundation has visited over multiple academic institutions with very positive outcomes. We look forward to doubling that amount in the next year as we educate college students about OCD and other mental health issues.

Thoughts from our presenter (John tessitore)

"Being able to share my story with the students means so much. Every time before I speak I get extremely nervous no matter how many times I have done this before! But once I see the students and their reaction I get into a zone and am able to open up as I know that my story may be able to have an impact on someone in the room. For me, there is nothing more fulfilling and rewarding than hearing someone open up after seeing the documentary and hearing me speak. To know that they are not afraid to share their story and to know that they have the courage to open up about their issues means so much.  After all, that is how John helped me open up, by sharing his story with me and more importantly supporting me. I hope that by the end of the speech all the students know that I will do whatever I can to support and help them on their own journeys and I genuinely believe that they will continue to support each other.

Hearing these students talk openly about mental health means so much to me, it makes me feel so fulfilled when I hear them supporting each other and it helps me with my own battles with OCD and anxiety. There are no judgments in the room and that’s the incredible thing! These students make the choice to talk and they are the catalysts in ending the stigma of mental health and OCD. For me it’s hard not to get emotional, I just love hearing students support each other and speak openly about their experiences. For me, that’s the greatest part about speaking, hearing the students open up afterwards. Everyone’s story is so different yet equally inspiring. I feel like during these conversations we have, time kind of stands still, we are all just so enthralled in what each other is saying and that is special. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing Johns story genuinely effect people and spark a flame in these student’s eyes. I hope they are able to bring what they learned during the Legends Speaking Tour into the real world. I already miss all the students I met! Even though I only met a few of them briefly, I feel like we formed a truly special bond with each other and that bond is something I will take with me forever. I already can’t wait to continue to share John’s story and my own with more and more students!"