Janet Sumner Johnson
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Superheros in Real Life

Nov 07, 2011 Uncategorized 22 comments
As an incurable book fanatic, I am at an exciting time in my life as my oldest child is just getting past that initial learning-to-read stage and discovering the freedom that books can bring.
Nightly homework requires 20 minutes of reading, and his teacher strongly recommends that he try reading all genres, including non-fiction. Thus, at the library, I checked out a short book on Christopher Reeve. My son couldn’t put it down and read till he had finished (long past the timed 20 minutes). Every mother’s dream, no?
I still remember how shocked I felt when I heard about his horse accident. It seemed impossible that such a man–the epitome of physical strength–could find himself in such a situation.

After the accident, Christopher was ready to give up . . . certain that he would only become a burden on the people he loved. But lucky for him (and us), his amazing wife, Dana convinced him otherwise.

As a quadriplegic, Christopher Reeve accomplished more than most people can with the use of all their limbs. He even helped fund the American Paraylsis Foundation that is now aptly named the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. He never stopped working to improve his and others’ situation, and he never stopped believing he would one day walk again. (Something that his doctor’s claimed impossible for an injury as severe as his. After all, he couldn’t even breathe without help!)

And then the miracle happened. He moved his index finger. And little by little, he regained control of some of his muscles. He could move some fingers, and he could walk on the bottom of a swimming pool. And he could even breathe for 90 minutes without the use of his ventilator.1
Unfortunately, he died shortly after this triumph, but what hope and what inspiration he gave to those who had had none! Those who had been told to accept their lot and go on. This man who once dressed up and pretended to play a superhero for all the world to see went on to become one in real life because he didn’t give up. He took a personal tragedy and blessed the lives of countless people with it.
And that is what we must do. There have been times I’ve wanted to give up (on writing, not life, just to be clear), but then I’d never know what I might have accomplished if only I’d tried–if only I’d forged ahead, even when it was hard.
Don’t give up.
Don’t stop trying.
Become that superhero you’ve dreamed of becoming.

1. http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/reeveu.html


22 Responses to “Superheros in Real Life”

  1. Vicki Rocho says:

    Very inspirational!

    And I love it when the kids get swept up in reading!

  2. Joanne says:

    I agree. There are so many options available for us to explore as writers, different avenues we can take our words down rather than stopping altogether. Thanks for the Monday inspiration 🙂

  3. Bish Denham says:

    This post gave me chills! Thanks.

  4. When I feel like giving up, I remember my son (who turns 12 yo next month). He was born 3 months premature. If he had given up and if his neonatologists had given up, he wouldn't be alive. He's my superhero (as are the NICU staff).

  5. Old Kitty says:

    Oh Christopher Reeve! What a lovely man – so inspirational. Actually his whole family were and are!!

    Take care

  6. Slamdunk says:

    Excellent topic and story Janet. I am working on a post on the same topic–five inspirational (well these are sports figures) that I use wiht our kids to highlight admirable qualitites.

  7. Justine Dell says:

    Wow, great post for a Monday morning. Thank you.


  8. What a wonderful and inspiring post! My BFF and I had such a crush on Christopher Reeve when we were teens! And as an avid three-day event rider myself, I knew a lot more about the sport Mr. Reeve was involved in when he had his accident than most people. He was truly an inspiration.

    As for reading, my son in particular LOVED non-fiction. We read books about the ocean, volcanoes, the Civil War, bugs, you name it! He was fascinated. the girls not so much. I don't know if it's just my family or if it's typical that boys like non-fiction more than girls… but my husband almost never reads fiction.

  9. Abby Fowers says:

    He has such an amazing story. I'm glad you shared this. My son really likes non-fiction books, which surprised me. But in all honesty – you can find some really wonderful stuff in them.

  10. Yeah…the Reeves were quite amazing people.

  11. Poor guy, you never know what's around the corner.

  12. Inspiring post, Janet 🙂 And I'm so glad your son is finding such joy in his story.

  13. Christopher Reeve is so incredible and inspiring! I have loved him ever since I was in third grade, and I would kiss the picture of him in the magazine at the back of the classroom when no one was looking.

    Did I really just admit that?

    And there's nothing better than a kid finding something to read that makes them WANT to read so much. I love it!

  14. Very inspiring, Janet! That's what makes a true super hero, blessing others' lives and giving hope to people. How wonderful to have a book like this to encourage kids to read and to teach such a valuable lesson!

  15. Carolyn V says:

    What a wonderful post Janet! I didn't know that Christoper Reeve got some of the movement back in his finger and could walk on the bottom of a pool. That is so awesome. And look at all the amazing things that came out of his accident. Wow. Truly inspirational. Thanks for sharing!

  16. Amie Kaufman says:

    Wow, just so inspiring. It was just such a deep shock when he was injured, and I watched with such admiration over the ensuing years as he proved the predictions wrong–absolutely amazing to see.

  17. Lenny Lee* says:

    hi miss janet! theres lots of superheros all around us. youre one of them! :)thats why i dont never give up.
    …hugs from lenny

  18. LTM says:

    wow. What a fantastic post. And yep, I remember thinking the same thing after his accident. I can only imagine that feeling of wanting to give up and not make others be burdened. But I had no idea what all he did after the accident. That's so cool, and yes. Inspirational! :o) <3

  19. What a wonderful, inspirational post. Thank you!

  20. Tony Storm says:

    like i always say, impossible isnt something that cannot be achieved but something we are unable to achieve so far, limist are to be broken and we can always go beyond our own expectatives, great read

  21. What a beautiful post! Christopher Reeve's story is truly inspiring. 🙂

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