Inspiring People: Tariq Johnson

Today, I am honored and delighted to introduce you to an incredibly inspiring adolescent boy, Tariq Johnson.

Despite endless amounts of hospitalizations, medical treatments, central line placements, and a life long illness of Wiskott Aldrich Syndrome (a rare recessive immunodeficiency disorder characterized by recurrent bacterial infections, eczema, and bleeding diarrhea caused by thrombocytopenia and platelet dysfunction), 14 year old Tariq Johnson still finds a way to have fun and just be a kid (Silver Lining). Tariq has had this severe blood disorder his whole life and often spends more time in the hospital than at home. His family recently found out that he may need not only a kidney transplant, but a bone marrow transplant as well.

Tariq loves to dance. One of Tariq’s life goals is to become a “star” and “go viral” on YouTube. Andrea Pappaconstantinou, one of the Child Life Specialists with whom Tariq works, is helping Tariq work achieve his goal by producing a short dance video and posting it to YouTube, while he was in the hospital. Watching the number of views on his video go up every day puts a smile on his face. Please check out Tariq’s dance video and help him continue to smile, despite his serious medical condition.

Here is the link to his video (just click on it):

As you can see, Tariq is a very creative individual with a large imagination and natural sense of rhythm. He loves to dance, make up intricate stories, create original costumes and props, and put on his own performances. While he is hospitalized at Tufts Medical Center’s Floating Hospital for Children, the Child Life Specialists work extremely hard to not only provide Tariq with social emotional support, but to help foster his creativity. “Even when Tariq is exhausted, on isolation in his room, and very ill, he still wants me to ‘play’ with him. I do my best to give him as much control and choices as possible, because he has little to no control over anything else he is going through.” says Andrea Pappaconstantinou.

Along with thanking Tufts Medical Center’s Floating Hospital for Children, and the Child Life Specialists, Nurses, and Doctors Tariq and his family rely on their strong faith in God. Before each procedure, during each hospitalization the Johnson family reaches out to their church family for prayer support asking God to give the entire medical team wisdom in how to deal with this rare disease. Tariq’s faith is strong enough to cause him to pray before each blood draw and surgery asking God to keep him safe and as pain free as possible.

Another of Tariq’s motivations is the relationships he has with the people at the Boys and Girls Club of Greater New Bedford  – Wareham Unit. Tariq has been attending this club for several years and is truly saddened when a lengthy hospitalization causes him to miss too many days. Members of the Boys and Girls Club have sent get well messages via get well cards and phone calls. He also receives support from his classmates at his former elementary school and now from his Middle school classmates and teachers.

How’s that for a pick-me-up inspiration and Silver Lining?

To add a Silver Lining to Tariq’s life, please be sure to pass along his YouTube video!


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    • silverpen says

      Wow, Mike. Thank you so much for your note. He was an inspiration. Best wishes during this difficult time!

  1. Stacy Orloff says

    What a beautiful story. Thanks for sharing information about this amazing young man. I could not help wondering how we could continue sharing his story. What about Ellen Degeneres…