There are a few varied definitions of what a ‘superhero’ is in dictionaries and on Wikipedia. According to these definitions a superhero is a type of costumed heroic character who possesses superhuman powers and is dedicated to fighting crime, protecting the public, and usually battling supervillians. Another definition can be described as an exceptionally skilful or successful person. Take the ‘super’ away from the title and you have a ‘hero.’ A hero can be a person who is admired for their courage, bravery, outstanding achievements and noble qualities.
Jacob is my definition of a superhero. Christopher Reeve once said – ‘a hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles’ and that just about sums up the fight Jacob put up to rid himself of the parasitic disease Ewing’s Sarcoma.
Lots of children grow up believing their father’s are superheroes and in play grounds around the world there are children acting out character roles of their favourite ones like ‘Spider-Man, superman, batman, ninja turtles, power rangers and the Hulk. When I was really young I have memories of watching ‘Marine Boy’ on tv and secretly wanting to be him and be able to breathe underwater by eating a piece of oxygum and be propelled through the water by jet boots and have a dolphin as a best friend. The superhero theme didn’t end in my childhood either it continued into my mid teens too as I watched another hero on the tv. This time the character added a splash of humour and good looks to the label hero and became a bit of a crush for a young female teen who cut out pictures of her favourites to put in a scrapbook. A very cute William Katt did a wonderful job with his character as ‘the greatest American hero’ and I really liked the theme song as music in my life at the age began to mean much more.
Ben was a mad Pokemon enthusiast who would watch Ash fight others with his evolving creatures. I think Charizard was a favourite with Ben. Rachel liked Mewtwo because of the cat like features and we have always had two cats. They would all play the old Nintendo 64 Pokemon game and yell, laugh, smile and cry over the battles between each other. Funny that Pokemon has been made a ‘come back’ recently with today’s even more advanced technology. They would play the old game of Mario party too on the Nintendo 64 fighting as siblings do to get the most coins and stars as they challenge each other. Jacob was always very keen to win and he seemed to keep his winning streak during the time of treatment and healing as this was a thing he enjoyed to do with his cousins and friends as they tried to cheer him up and pass time and try to get him to forget about it all – if only for that brief time that the game was played. He loved to play PS3 games with his chemo buddy Chris during hospital stays. He too lost his life, the same year and age as Jacob. Amy was more of a what they called a hopeless romantic (although she wasn’t hopeless in any shape or form-it’s just that the words suited) and found her superheroes in the lots of books she read and the movies she watched. There was always one character that stood out as a superhero as the stories took her away to so many fantasy worlds to immerse herself into.
When Jacob was little a new Disney superhero was born. A figurine of Hercules stands proudly on his birthday cake as Jacob waits patiently for everyone to stop singing ‘happy birthday’ so he can blow out his candles. As he grew up and matured he had respect for many well known cinematographers in his chosen career and these became the ‘superheroes’ that inspired his ultimate dream in life – Peter Jackson and too many more to mention. He put a photo up on Instagram out of respect for a cinematographer after hearing their passing who had worked on ‘the lord of the rings,’ ‘the hobbit’ and ‘the water divider’ – Andrew Lesnie. In Just 6 months later we are putting up our own photos up on Instagram and Facebook on the passing of Jacob, our forever 20 year old ‘beautiful brown eyed boy.’ My only wish is that the two of them are pooling their knowledge together in the making of a major blockbuster in Heaven staring all of the famous actors and featuring some great tunes from all the musicians we’ve lost over the last few years. Can you ‘imagine?’ – John Lennon, David Bowie, Michael Jackson, Michael Hutchins….and ‘break a leg’ – alongside Robin Williams, Gene Wilder, Heath Ledger, Alan Rickman…
‘Sometimes real superheroes live in the hearts of small children fighting big battles’ this awareness quote for children’s cancer ‘goGOLD’ highlights that there are too many of our youth fighting the cancer battle – we support the fighters, admire the survivors, honour the taken and never, ever give up hope. Jacob wasn’t a small child by all means at 6 foot 2 inch frame on a 20 year old body. But he was in the age category that Ewing’s sarcoma seemed to target – 12-25year olds. When we heard the low statistics of survival rate if the disease has metastasised we automatically thought he’d be one of the ones to survive and be in the 25-30% of people living in 5 years time. Positivity had to begin at the start. Jacob had once said in an interview to raise much needed funds to develop new and improved cancer treatment facilities for youth that his ‘life was on hold.’ On hold to following his dreams in life of becoming a famous cinematographer, to travel, to live life starting out as a young adult. It was all ahead of him. But it was not meant to be, not part of his life’s plan.
If I was a superhero I’d take his disease away with my special superhuman powers and conquer the world and rid it of the big ‘C’ for once and for all, so the population of the future can just die of old age and natural causes. I hear the song ‘one call away’ as I write these words. ‘I’m only one call away, I’ll be there to save the day, superman got nothing on me.’ If only I could have saved him.
For the children of today I know that Minion’s may be seen as heroes in their eyes and I can give you a ‘Minion’ reasons to support childhood cancer awareness, funding and research – but….7 children losing their battle with childhood cancer each day should be reason enough!
Some people never meet their hero. I gave birth to mine. Not all superheroes wear capes. September is national childhood cancer awareness month, give all those who suffer HOPE and be a HERO. Finding a cure starts with hope. Embrace your inner superhero. It’s time to believe in heroes.