Meet My Friend Justin, 22Q Activist, YouTuber, Musician & Faze Rug Fan
I met Justin on Twitter and immediately knew he was a cool dude.
He's on top of the trends, he's into music and he's into hashtags (and you know I love me some hashtags)! We immediately clicked.
Soon after our Twitter friendship began, I discovered that he has a condition called 22Q.
When he first told me about 22Q I hadn't heard of it - despite the fact that I am a health nut and I thought I knew most conditions . He explained that it's very rare. And, I wanted to know more.
Justin G., who is 23, explained that this condition affects his speech, his ability to do some things quickly, like process math, and that 22Q had also affected one of his heart valves. As a result, Justin has had several open heart surgeries, which hit super close to home since my grandmother had one of the first open heart surgeries in the United States to fix one of her valves when I was a little girl. She had one surgery, which was quite an endeavor, and he had several. I could not imagine going through that!
"22Q or 2q11.2 Deletion syndrome is a disorder caused by a small missing piece of the 22nd chromosome, according to 22q Family Foundation. However, this small missing piece can affect every system in the human body and can be the cause of 200 mild to serious health and developmental issues in children. It is the second most common genetic disorder behind Down's Syndrome. It is estimated that one in 2,000 to 4,000 estimated number of children are born each year with 22q. (via Newsweek)
But, despite just having yet another heart surgery not too long ago to help with his 22Q-related symptoms - being the awesome guy that Justin is - he decided that he wanted the world to know more about 22Q. So, he did what any hashtag lover would do, he tweeted!
And guess what? He got his wish! A ton of influencers shared his tweet - including Ellen (wow!) and Mariah Carey (awesome!)!!!! - which resulted in 3 million views. He also ended up in Newsweek, CBS, and more.
So now that nearly 3 million people have seen Justin's tweet, you know I had to ask him about his plans for 2020. Here's a little Q&A we did. Where? At our favorite spot - in the Twitter DMs, of course!!!
What do you like to do for fun, when you are not busy being a 22Q activist?For fun, I like to do music. I also love to watch @FaZeRug videos, make YouTube videos (check out his channel) and inspire others to share about their disabilities. I hang with friends and I love traveling to places.
When did you start spreading awareness? What gave you the idea?I started to spread an awareness a few years ago. I don’t remember the exact date! But I wanted to raise an awareness for 22q because I want more people to know about it because it’s such a rare disability. I wanted to inspire others as well! :)
Can you tell me about 22Q and how it’s affected you or people you know?How 22q effects me it effects my heart I have had many open heart operations over the last few years. Also it takes me longer to learn things. It’s hard for me to date people sometimes. I’ve never had a girlfriend but I hope to soon.
What are your 2020 goals?
My 2020 goals are to:
- Get @Verified on Twitter help more people with there disabilities.- Collab/meet @FaZeRug!!
Do you have a New Years Resolution?Inspire more people to share their stories! I also want to make more YouTube videos about 22q and gain more followers on Twitter (my milestone is 10K).
What’s your best advice for anyone who has a disability?Don’t be scared to share your story!!! Because at the end of the day everyone will want to hear your voice!
Thanks for sharing your story, Justin! You are a true warrior and hero. I cannot wait for you to meet all of your 2020 goals. I know you will! And I am happy to be your friend. Thanks for all you do. - KAC
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