Monday, October 1, 2012
An open message to Stan Lee
You know heroes better than anyone in the business, but you don't know this one and I would really like you to.
Denver Justice Wilde was named after the best man and brother I ever knew who was tragically murdered in 1991. So, right from this little man's name, you know he's something special.
DJW was born 3 months premature, and still came out with full lungs and screaming to life. From the very start he was overcoming hurdles. He also had mild hydrocephalus that he grew out of on his own.
As a toddler he developed fits that could not be calmed and started hitting his head nonstop. We didn't know what we were dealing with then but it troubled him. He even asked me one day when I was intervening on one of his episodes, tearfully; "Daddy, why can't I stop?" He had to wear a helmet for a year while we got meds adjusted to help him stop hurting himself.
At 3 years old he was diagnosed with autism.
At 3 years old he was also making up his own superheroes. There were two of them; Skunk Boy and Diamond Crystal Robot. He even made his own Halloween costume for Diamond Crystal Robot out of cardboard and later out of other costume pieces.
Also from 3 years on up, he developed an uncanny ability to build things out of cardboard. He would make entire cities from cardboard boxes and other pieces he scavenged from us. He had no fear of going up to some clerk in a shop to ask if they had any cardboard boxes for him.
Not uncommon in autism, he didn't potty train until he was 5 and attending Kindergarten. For all our efforts, he finally just overcame his fears on his own. Another hurdle beaten.
He proved he could be in a mainstream classroom too, after we moved from Lincoln NE. to Sheboygan, WI.
In 1st grade his teacher told me that he couldn't learn the material. By the end of the year he proved her wrong.
At the end of 2nd grade he did similar though his teacher already knew there were special things going on with Denver. By the end of the year he taught them something new.
Also, before he went into 2nd grade, he went through the divorce of his parents. During his 2nd grade year his Grandmother died on his Mothers side of the family and then his Grandfather died on my side of the family.
It took a lot of support and we (myself, his dr and school staff) were ready to support him. He always seemed to bounce back. For such a little guy, he's been through a lot.
In 4th grade he did so well that he earned an award for keeping a B average through the year. He was also invited to the school spelling bee for being amongst the top three spellers in his class and the top ten for his whole grade.
Now, he's going through a hard time. He's unhappy with himself and we are scrambling and struggling to help him. He gets angry, then he gets angry with himself for his own mistakes. He's hurt himself and had to be in the hospital to readjust his medication. He's still struggling and down on himself. We're applying everything we know and can research in techniques to help him. This can happen when a child is trying to learn how to cope with mental disorders. He feels like a freak (his own words) and we know he's not.
Now there's an opportunity, a very rare opportunity. In November it may just be possible to have him meet one of his celebrity heroes. Hist topmost celebrity hero next to Matt Smith from Doctor Who. He could meet you at the New Orleans Comicon, just a few hours drive from here in Monroe. If I could get him to meet you, I know it could be the morale boost of a lifetime for this 10 year old.
If I could get him to meet you, get a photograph and maybe a signed book to frame and put on his wall. He would have the memory of a lifetime. I could show him that awesome things can and will happen if you put your mind to them.
And I also want to say that this is totally about him. I'm not coming to pitch my universe, artwork or writing. I'm coming for my son. Nothing else. If all I can do is maybe get you to shake his hand, I know what the impact could be. It could alter his course or at least really help with that.
And I'm willing to lean on my cane (the docs think I have MS) and stand in that line just like everyone else. But you are more than welcome to step out of your way if you want to. But I'm not asking you too. I just want you to know him. I hope that when you see his little face, you might remember him. Because having you say "Hi Denver" as he walks up would really, really blow him away!
Some said I should tell you why this would be beneficial to you. My answer to that is a question. When would helping a child (event with just a handshake) not be beneficial to anyone?
So maybe, if you see this, you'll know my little hero and the challenges he faces. I truly hope so.
I have great respect for you in even reading this. I do hope that we will make it. Thank you for your time and hope that all things are going well for you.
David J Wilde