2-year-old helps great-grandfather fight Parkinson's disease

"TJ started to not only take a liking to my grandpa but wanted to help him."

2-year-old helps great-grandfather fight Parkinson's disease
Taryn Watson
June 4, 2024, 11:43 AM

A 2-year-old is helping his great-grandfather fight Parkinson's disease one small step at a time.

Taryn Watson recently shared on social media how her son TJ helps his great-grandfather -- Watson's grandfather -- Philip Thompson, who was diagnosed in 2013 with Parkinson's disease, a nervous system disorder which affects a person's movement and gets worse over time, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

According to the agency, as symptoms of Parkinson's disease progress, "people may have difficulty walking, talking, or completing other simple tasks." While there is no cure, "research is ongoing and medications or surgery can often provide substantial improvement with motor symptoms," the agency states.

In a sweet video post Watson shared earlier this year, TJ can be seen helping Thompson out the door, holding his hand and giving him plenty of love.

"It was difficult because … Grandpa is the one that's always outside with us. He's throwing the ball. He's walking with the stick, taking us to the park," Watson told "Good Morning America" of the impact of Thompson's diagnosis, which she said affected not just Thompson but their entire family.

Taryn Watson with her son TJ, her brother, her grandfather Philip Thompson and grandmother.
Taryn Watson

"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 continued.

But since Thompson's diagnosis over a decade ago, their family has rallied behind him and worked to help him any way they can.

"My brother is in his early 20s and has sacrificed a lot to be present for my grandpa. So he takes him to do archery, he takes him to do boxing … and it's helped him so much," Watson said.

Aside from her brother, Watson also noticed that her son TJ also does his part to help as well.

Taryn Watson’s two-year-old son TJ likes to help his great-grandfather Philip Thompson with his movements. Thompson was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2013.
Taryn Watson

"TJ started to not only take a liking to my grandpa but wanted to help him," she recalled, adding that TJ has picked up what she and her brother do for Thompson and mimics their actions.

Sometimes, she said, TJ holds out his hand for his great-grandfather as they take walks outside. Other times, he encourages him to move or simply gives him a loving hug.

TJ is Philip Thompson’s first great-grandchild.
Taryn Watson

"I think it says a lot about TJ. He's very compassionate at a young age," Watson said. "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."

At the end of the day, Watson said her family sticks together in order to be there for their family patriarch.

"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.