By Kayla, EnStarz | Jul 04, 2012 11:30 AM EDT
Justin Bieber is evidently popular among the female tween-age girls, but who would have thought that 71 year-old, Peter Johngren, would be a fanboy for the 18 year-old star?
The retired medical doctor and grandfather actually finds great hope in Bieber’s music. He is currently fighting advanced prostate cancer and feels like the young singer is “so full of life.”
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“[Justin is] so full of life that it somehow counters my thoughts of death,'' Johngren said.
“While I may have one foot out the door, Justin has just entered the room and it’s a reminder of how exciting and precious life is.”
The elderly man discovered Bieber’s music one day while in chemotherapy treatments. It was 2009 and Johngren was also tackling a diagnosis of colon cancer. While surfing on YouTube, he encountered a performance of Bieber singing for President Obama.
The 71 year-old was once a very active young man. He enjoyed backpacking and skiing. However, now, he uses two canes to walk and is continuously checked in and out of hospitals. Bieber’s youth and exuberance gives him strength.
Johngren considers himself a “Belieber” and his 44 year-old daughter bears witness that her father truly glows from within.
“Sometimes it’s like, ‘Oh my God, there goes dad talking about Justin Bieber again!’” Emily Ward says laughing. “But you can really tell how positive an influence [the singer] has had on my dad, just brightening his spirits.”
Ward moved from Alaska to New York with her husband to support her father in his illness. The family often speaks about how they would purchase a Bieber-like wig for Johngren if he ever lost his hair. Kidding about Bieber has enlivened the mood and put smiles on the family’s faces even during tough times.
Johngren claims his fandom of Bieber “has provided everyone the opportunity to express their affection and have some fun at the same time.”
The elderly fan “owns his own Biebs-branded apparel along with every one of the pop singer’s albums, collectors’ magazine issues, the documentary Never Say Never, concert stubs from when he and his wife Jane saw Bieber perform in Albany (‘it was unbelievably terrific’), Bieber’s autobiography, and a stack of media reviews and articles he’s found online. He even joined ‘the Twitter’ just to keep up with Bieber’s daily activities,” Postmedia News reports.
It may seem odd that such an elderly male would be deeply intrigued with a young pop singer. However, Spee Kosloff, an assistant professor of psychology at California State University Fresno, suggests that Johngren’s behavior is not strange at all.
“Religion isn’t the only way that people gain assurance that death isn’t the end,” says Kosloff. “In addition to the literal immortality that people get from believing in heaven and a soul, there’s symbolic immortality that people get from identifying with cultural institutions and individuals that promise to have a lasting impact.”
Johngren “sees the bounty of youth and continuance of generations beyond his death,” Kosloff continued.
“I find a lot of news in general to be quite depressing,” Johngren said, whose wife is an avid follower of American politics.
“[Bieber] helps me see how great life is, and restores my faith in humanity.”
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