The mother of a teenager with Tourette’s has said that Lewis Capaldi’s performance at Glastonbury was “amazingly powerful” and has raised important awareness about the condition.
During his performance on Saturday (24 June), Capaldi struggled to finish his set due to involuntary muscle movements caused by his Tourette’s – but he was supported by the crowd at the Pyramid Stage who sang the lyrics to ‘Someone You Loved’.
Tourette’s is a neurological condition that causes involuntary muscle movements and sounds known as tics. Capaldi was overcome with a bout of these during his Glastonbury show.
Laura Hummersone, whose 19-year-old son Harry has the condition, explained how much the performance impacted them. The pair were watching the performance from their home in Farnborough, Hampshire.
“Watching Lewis yesterday, in that moment, I think he did more for Tourette’s than any charity or education on the topic in all the times I’ve known about Tourette’s. I was in tears,” she told PA [via Evening Standard].
“[Capaldi] was openly ticing and my son tries to suppress his most of the time when he’s out, which means that when he comes home, he has these huge tic attacks where he can barely do anything”, she said. “Some of the tics that Lewis was doing were tics that my son does on a regular daily basis, jerking the head.”
Harry was diagnosed with Tourette’s when he was five years old and Laura said that her son’s tics were so bad at one point that she had to quit the job she had at the time for 12 years to look after him.
“Because of his head tics at one point, he couldn’t stand up,” she said. “It was so violent and also he couldn’t feed himself… and sometimes he would hit his head on the door frame and knock himself out. That’s what Tourette’s is like to live with.”
Laura said of the crowd supporting Capaldi: “The acceptance, tolerance, understanding, empathy and compassion which the crowd showed yesterday was phenomenal.
“Harry’s friends have been really sweet about his tics, but during primary school we had parents taking their kids out of school because they didn’t like the ticing.
“I wanted Harry to see the love from that crowd – nobody cared about Lewis’ ticing, they were carrying him through and little things like that show it is nothing to be ashamed of. That’s the big thing.”
She added that Capaldi did a “brilliant” job of highlighting that Tourette’s does not necessarily mean that you will have swearing as a tic. “Most of the time, it isn’t about swearing”, she said.
“I think the condition is still so misunderstood and people think you only tic when stressed.
“With Lewis, he was ticing doing something he loved – sometimes it distracts you from what you’re doing, other times it doesn’t. So his performance was amazingly powerful.”
While Glastonbury saw Capaldi make his live return, the singer also confirmed that he’ll now take the rest of the year off in order to fully focus on his mental health.
“I recently took three weeks off just because I’ve been none stop the past year and I wanted to take a wee break from my head for my mental health,” he said.
“I wanted to come back and do Glastonbury because it’s obviously so incredible so I just want to thank you all for coming out. I was scared but you’ve really made me feel at ease so thank you very much for that.”
The Brit Award-winning singer added: “I feel like I’ll be taking another wee break over the next couple of weeks so you probably won’t see much of me for the rest of the year maybe even. But when I do come back, when I do see you, I hope you’re all still up for watching.”