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Pierz teen with severe case of Tourette's needs $100K for surgery

Doctors say it's one of the severest cases of Tourette's they've seen.

A teenager from Pierz, Minnesota, is getting help from his community for an experimental surgery to help with his severe case of Tourette syndrome.

Jacob Fuhrman, 17, was diagnosed with Tourette's and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) at a young age, with his conditions causing him to have regular vocal and motor tics.

According to a GoFundMe set up on behalf of his parents, Jeff and DeAnna Fuhrman, the condition leads him to have "uncontrollable urges to tap and pound on things, make very loud noises, and repeat things he hears or thinks."

Over the course of his life, Jacob has seen numerous doctors "who prescribed more than 20 different kinds of drugs," and has also been put on a myriad of diets, supplements and therapies.

But none of them have worked, and the family is now aiming to raise $100,000 to pay for a surgery at Minnesota's Mayo Clinic, with more than $42,000 having already been raised in the space of a week.

The surgery is called "Deep Brain Stimulation" (DBS) and is typically a procedure that has been successfully carried out on Parkinson's patients, as well as those with dystonia and epilepsy.

It's still undergoing testing to see if it will become a viable treatment for Tourette's, and for that reason, the fundraiser says it's not yet covered by health insurance companies – hence the need for $100,000.

As the Tourette Association of America explains, DBS works by implanting an electrode into a "specific target within the brain" while a pacemaker-like neurostimulator is then implanted under the skin, which is connected via a cable to the electrode.

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This equipment then produces electrical impulses that can regulate "abnormal impulses," the Mayo Clinic says. 

"Friends and family have been praying for years for something that can help Jacob," the fundraiser for Jacob says.

"Through the miracle of medicine and the incredibly humbling generosity of our community, we can do this for Jacob. The family is deeply grateful to the entire community for the support and acceptance they've always given to Jacob."

As well as via GoFundMe, donations are also being given at F&M Bank at PO Box 308, Pierz, MN 56364.

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