“My story is complex but simple. I have faced many difficult challenges and obstacles just like others. A very dark period for me was my late teens. I was diagnosed with Tourette syndrome at age 9, parents divorced at age 12, barely graduated high school, and was told I was not college material. I felt as if there was nothing in life for someone like me. What was the point of living? One evening I decided to take my life while holding a fully loaded gun to my head. It was at that point my eyes were enlightened to a greater purpose and I received “permission” to be somebody great.

The achievements and successes I have attained so far in life is all due to my foundation and trust in the Lord. For years I waited for someone to tell me I could succeed despite my obstacles of having a disability. But my faith has pushed me to greatness. I believe that anything we desire to do in life, it is our choice to succeed. We all have permission to pursue our dreams despite life’s obstacles. There are millions of people who have the potential to be greater in life. Once they realize it, they will be able to soar as eagles through the sky, above their obstacles." - Stephen

Stephen Michael McCall, a distinguished military veteran (US Air Force), Department of Defense civil servant, and most recently served as a Defense Fellow for the US Senate, began to have symptoms of Tourette Syndrome around age 9.

He was prescribed strong medications as a child to calm his vocal and motor tics, but the drugs left him feeling tired and sluggish. By age 15, he chose to stop taking the medications in a goal to fly planes and become an astronaut. Though his teen's left him with severe depression and an attempted suicide, he pushed through his obstacles. In 1997, Stephen enlisted in the United States Air Force where he was decorated with many military honors to include the Kosovo Campaign Medal from his time served during the Kosovo War. Culminating his enlisted service, Stephen was one of the top recipients in the Air Force to receive a ROTC scholarship. This led to his graduation in 2000 as an honor graduate from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

Since then, Stephen’s accomplishments have surpassed the opinions of his high school teachers. He received his Masters degree with top honors from the public ivy league, the College of William and Mary;  authored the book “The Tyrannosaurus Tic: A boy's adventures with Tourette Syndrome; worked for the US Senate; and recently received a permanent appointment to the US Congress' Library of Congress as a military space and missile defense analyst. From his first time as a student pilot as a teenager to traveling abroad and meeting world leaders to being featured in the NY Times, CNN, and various magazines and key notes at conferences, Stephen is living his life to the fullest. He currently is a National Board Member and chairman for the diversity committee for the Tourette Association of America. In this role he hopes to spread awareness about his disorder to underserved and multicultural communities. His ultimate goal with his community service and musical, Imaginary Boy, is to save lives. As he stated, "I almost lost my life to teen suicide but I survived and I am determined to reach teenagers and people all over the world with my story  to show them that they can not only survive, but they can live their dreams."

My Story About Bullying

  • Due to my small stature, classmates always teased me for being smaller starting in elementary school (Cooke Elementary in Detroit)

  • My 6th grade memory book that I still have had a lot of my “friends” call me nerd, stupid, shorty, and other things that lowered my self esteem

  • High School bullying included (Aaron) who would also try to dog me and mess with me in the hallway. I was always scared to come to school and run into him. To make things worst, his dad liked my mother and began to get to know my mother. This caused me more trouble with him at school. No one defended me that I recall

  • Another occasion was in 11th grade when my classmate decided to grab me by the collar and pick me up off the ground and slam me against the wall. While I was on wall with my feet off the ground, my friend Sabrina came over to rescue me

  • Bullying continued in various forms from being in my car and being trapped on street by 3 other cars and around 8-12 guys were in the cards and got out to try to beat me up on the street. My female friend was in the car and told me not to get out

  • I was severely depressed and had no desire to live in High School however no one in my family knew how I felt inside. I kept everything to myself and had no one to confide in