If there is one thing St. Jude patient Charlie loves, it’s superheroes.
The 11-year-old, who received proton beam radiation therapy at St. Jude earlier this year for a brain tumor, enjoys going to see superhero movies and reading comic book stories.
Her favorite superhero? Ms. Marvel®.
“She’s just really cool and funny,” she said. “She spends half her time at home, and she’s grounded. Then she sneaks out and goes and finds super villains.”
This past spring, Charlie got the opportunity to share her love for superheroes with writer Jesse Holland when he toured St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Holland is a journalist and author of the novel, Black Panther: Who is the Black Panther? based on the Marvel® character Black Panther.
Like Charlie, Holland is an avid superhero fan. He started reading comic books when he was 5 years old. At that age, he would read a book and then wait for a month to read what happened next to his favorite superheroes.
“I frankly couldn’t wait the whole month so I started writing things for myself, creating these stories and figuring out what would happen next,” he said. “Comic books were life.”
During Holland’s visit to St. Jude, he toured the hospital and met with patients, talked with them about comic books, drew superheroes and even helped them decorate their own capes and masks.
Despite their health challenges, Holland said each patient had a sense of confidence, individuality and creativity that reminded him of the superheroes they had come to love.
“It was just so cool,” Holland said. “St. Jude patients are who they want to be and that’s how they wish the world could be. And the knowledge they have about comic books and comic book movies always astounds me. They follow it like it’s real news.”