Cancer battle inspires Atlanta teen actress to help others

For Mikari Tarply's Sweet 16, she is raising money for those with sickle cell

In 2018, she was in the movie “Alex & Me.” In 2019, she played Tia in “Queen Sugar.” In 2020, she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

All before her 16th birthday.

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Mikari Tarply and her parents, Michael and Tomaree Tarpley, have been in isolation since March, when chemotherapy treatments made Mikari too medically fragile to be exposed to anything — especially the coronavirus.

When it became evident the Atlanta actress would not be having the Sweet 16 party she and her mom had been planning, she switched her priorities.

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surpriseeee IM BALD lol. it’s crazy to think that these pictures were only taken a month apart. for those of you that don’t know, two months ago i was diagnosed with stage 2a hodgkin’s lymphoma, which is cancer in the lymph nodes. i have been receiving chemotherapy ever since the beginning of april. it has been tough, and i most definitely have had some terrible days, but i don’t want any of you to feel bad for me! i’m going to be ok! :) the reason i am making this post is to introduce my testimony, prove that life shouldn’t be taken for granted, and to just stop hiding. by the grace of god, #hodgkinslymphoma is 90% curable, but unfortunately that is not the case for the majority of cancers that thousands of men, women, and children are fighting every day. i could have easily been diagnosed with a more extreme form of cancer, contracted an infection or virus, or worse. but i wasn’t. i didn’t. i’m here and i’m alive. so to whoever is reading this, be thankful for where you are and what you have. be thankful that you woke up this morning. be thankful that even if you aren’t where you want to be in life right now, you still have a life to live. there is too much hate and evil in this world to ignore the good and constant blessings in your life. even if you don’t see them, they’re there. so i just wanted to come on here and share that, even if it made zero sense LOL. everyone pleaseeee stay safe. you are entitled to believe what you want, but this corona thing is real. don’t throw away your health because you are tired of staying in the house or you miss your friends. we just gotta wait it out! i love love love all of you <3 love, mikari ;) p.s : if you want to stay up to date with my fight with #HL, there is a link in my bio to my CaringBridge site (a social network to help keep people connected with friends and family during a health event). again, LOVE YOU GUYSSS!! stay safe. seriously. xoxo #cancersucks🎗

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Instead of feeling sorry for herself, Mikari decided to use her time and birthday to help others.

“I’ve learned a lot during this challenging time. I realized that I’m blessed to be here and I’m still alive. Other kids aren’t so lucky. So instead of sitting around being sad that my Sweet 16 Party dreams won’t come to reality, I wondered what I could do to help someone else,” the teen wrote on her fundraising page.

“So instead of asking for presents for my birthday, I would love for everyone to join me by donating $16, $160, $1600 or more to help me reach my goal of $16,000 in support of Sickle Cell Funding at the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta,” she wrote.

She already has more than $10,000.

According to Mikari’s page, she has been acting since she was 3.

She landed her first principle acting role in 2011, in the award winning, independent short film “Letters to a Father.”

Mikari is also a dancer. She traveled North America as young Nala in Disney’s “The Lion King” National Broadway Tour.

A triple threat, Mikari is a singer and musician like her parents. She plays the guitar and jazz saxophone.

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These days, however, she is focusing on getting better and helping others.

“A week ago, I had my last chemo appointment,” Mikari told 11 Alive. “I am feeling amazing.”

She told the news station she is thankful for all she has been through, all she has learned and the opportunity to help others.

“There are so many things to be happy for or grateful for,” she said.

If you’d like to help Mikari reach her goal, you can donate here.