BY Dollita Okine, 2:00pm June 17, 2024,

How this 2-year-old is helping his great-grandfather fight Parkinson’s disease

When they go on walks outside, TJ will occasionally extend his hand to greet his great-grandfather. Occasionally, he offers him a warm hug or encourages him to move. Photo Credit: GMA, Taryn Watson

Philip Thompson, who was given a Parkinson’s disease diagnosis in 2013, has discovered a small assistant in his 2-year-old great-grandson, TJ. Taryn Watson, the mother of the 2-year-old, described how her son supports her grandfather despite the illness that is now restricting his ability to move around.

Her grandfather was always the most active member of the family, so his diagnosis affected the whole family, she said on “Good Morning America.”

“To see him not be able to be outside for long periods of time if it was hot or something like that, because it would affect the medication that he was taking … it was hard for us to receive,” Watson recounted. 

Parkinson’s disease is a neurological system condition that affects mobility and progressively worsens over time, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

As Parkinson’s disease symptoms worsen, people may have trouble walking, communicating, or performing other routine tasks. While there is no cure, “research is ongoing, and medications or surgery can often provide significant improvement with motor symptoms,” according to the NIH.

Nonetheless, Thompson’s family have come together to support him and have done everything in their power to assist him since his diagnosis more than ten years ago. Watson’s brother, who is in his early 20s, has also made many sacrifices to be with their grandfather and brings him to boxing and archery, among other activities.

“My grandpa has been that person that we all have been able to come together and be there for, and then it kind of just makes us closer as well,” Watson said.

In a recent video that Watson posted, TJ is shown holding Thompson’s hand, assisting him out the door, and showing him affection. The proud mother revealed that she had observed her son developing a fondness for his great-grandfather and starting to imitate the actions his mother and uncle performed for their grandfather.

She added that when they go on walks outside, TJ will occasionally extend his hand to greet his great-grandfather. Occasionally, he offers him a warm hug or encourages him to move.

She remarked, “I think it says a lot about TJ. He’s very compassionate at a young age. I didn’t even know you could really teach a kid that thing at that young of an age, but he really has caught on to a lot of things.”

Watson concluded that her family remains united because they want to support their patriarch.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: June 17, 2024

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