LEGENDS SPEAKING TOUR
Following in the spirit of the Fall Tour, the Spring Legends Tour began with 1,000 miles of driving over 36 hours. John Tessitore, Dr. Stephen Kelly, and Stephany Olivieri brought their roadshow to over 200 students at Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Va followed by an evening program at Loyola University in Baltimore, Md.
The students at Washington & Lee were very impressed by the presentation and asked some of the most insightful questions we have had on any tour. They hope to form their own chapter this year.
The Loyola Program was one of the highlight of the Spring Tour program. Stephany Olivieri, a recent Loyola grad arranged the program and recruited a multitude of students for the presentation. John knew many of the students who had played in previous softball tournaments and he hit a home run with his presentation. Many of the Loyola faculty attended and were impressed with the presentation. Knowing that John’s story is not only inspiring those to keep fighting, but the fact that it is inspiring those to make a difference and do what they can do to make someone’s life easier means the world.
Providence College was the site of our next presentation. We were very fortunate that Cassandra Caggiano, a freshman at Providence, setup the presentation with the school’s Active Minds Chapter. By the end of the presentation at least 75% of the attendees were crying. The students were so moved that a collection of their thoughts were collected here. John spent over one hour in heartfelt conversations with many of the students asking what they can do to get involved, and the raw emotion from these students was incredible. JCK’s story was inspiring these students to go out there and make a change on their own. We weren’t telling them to do anything, these students had the passion and the drive to make a difference. The look in one young man’s eyes said it all. He said his brother has had OCD his whole life, and that this story inspired him to reach out to his brother. There is nothing more rewarding and inspiring to see reactions like this. This is what our mission is all about.
Our next stop was Harvard University. The students who were able to attend enjoyed a moving presentation. John Tessitore had given one of the most heartfelt presentations of his life. Sometimes it is amazing who you can impact. After the presentation a mother who had a son in his late 20’s who had been suffering from OCD approached us. She kept telling us to keep sharing John’s story because although her son was struggling she gained hope and she knew that her son could keep fighting and be alright. After leaving Harvard we felt like we could do anything.
The last stop on the spring tour was Drexel University. One thing we have learned is that every place we speak, something different happens. Drexel was no different. On this trip we were able to pick up a follower of our organization on the way. Steve is a 40 year old who has suffered from OCD for most of his life and is also a successful lawyer in NYC. You would never guess he had OCD. We drove down to Drexel and presented but what happened next was amazing. Steve, who only was supposed to watch got up and started speaking to the students. He shared his message of hope and explained to the students that you can live a successful life, you can be a lawyer, and raise a family, and do anything you think is possible while battling OCD. Drexel’s audience was so active and they asked many questions. We all talked in a group setting for about 45 minutes. Seeing the look on Steve’s face on the drive home was so memorable. It was so nice to see someone who has been hiding OCD for most of his adult life, actually go out there and be himself! He inspired that whole room.
We are already looking forward to the fall semester and continuing to spread awareness and alleviate the stigma of OCD and other mental illness.