It’s a quiet, slow-paced Saturday on Memorial Day weekend in Harley’s room at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital.
She is being treated for the chronic pain she feels in her left leg after a complex history of soccer injuries and a cyst removal. The 16-year-old is connected to catheters and her leg is numb, but she works hard with occupational and physical therapists to keep moving as part of her treatment plan. Harley scrolls through TikTok, a popular social media app, and spots a trending dance.
Her mom, Creigh, suggests it’s time to get moving, and they decide to shoot a TikTok dance video of their own. Harley teaches her mom the moves and they get in about 45 minutes to an hour of physical activity.
Creigh admits it even got her sweating! And Harley’s care team was thrilled to see her moving and inspiring others on social media at the same time.
“We were so happy to work with her and this video really reflects how upbeat and happy she is," says Christine Tapp, one of her occupational therapists. We are very proud of her and the whole team echoes that.
“She's an incredible girl and very positive. She has a cheery but realistic outlook and she worked so hard with PT and OT and was self-motivated to make the most of the program.”
Soon, the video goes viral. To date, it has more than 500,000 views, 75,000 likes and numerous positive comments.
“I'm astounded at how many people are watching this video!” Harley explains.
When chemotherapy jeopardizes a special day, the hospital team creates a special memory for a patient family.
Known as the “tutu girls,” they share a bond through their common experience with pediatric cancer. That bond seemingly grows stronger with each reunion.
With a little sparkle and a common language, a conversation between mermaid and patient goes swimmingly.
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