My son is nine years old. When you meet him, right away you'll notice he is different. Maybe it's his sense of humor, he is quite the comedian. His intelligence is measured on test that put him way beyond his third grade level. You might notice the nervous tic he developed shortly before school started. Or the scars on his face, and hand. If your lucky he will show you the eight or so scars on his feet. In his speech, he stops and starts over more than once, because his mouth can't keep up with his brain. If you ask him what he wants to be when he grows up he'll say a CEO, a Scientist, and an Archaeologist, not just one but all three, and sometimes he adds a fourth, an Astronomer.
If you ask him his favorite show, he will tell you it's The Big Bang Theory, and if you haven't already guessed, Sheldon's his favorite.
But mostly you'll notice he walks funny.
My son (and daughter) were born with a rare genetic condition called Distalarthrogryposis. He started physical and occupational therapy at three months of age. He had his first surgery at the age of two. He is now nine, having a had seven surgeries, and more to come.
When he was a year old, I would sit him on my lap as I played and he would watch the colors on the screen. He loved pushing a button that would cause the character to auto run into a crowd of bad guys, and giggle hysterically as the bad guys took out the Heroes. I was told I could change the keyboard key that caused this, but I couldn't. I just didn't have the heart to.
When he was two and after his first surgery I gave him the rein of the character, taking his mind off his pain.
When he was three, he didn't ask anymore he just assumed command.
When he was six he got his own account.
For the past three years he played, patrolling the city of Paragon, keeping the citizens safe. Being a Hero.
Until August 31, 2012.
I explained to him what I knew, with tears streaming down my face, and a huge lump in my throat. Just like now as I type this out.
He was devastated.
You see, not only does he have physical limitations, he also has severe food allergies to dairy, eggs, and nuts. So when classmates had birthday parties, it was too dangerous for him to go, which makes it hard to make friends along with his distalarthrgryposis.
Inside the city of Paragon, he was able to be himself, without any rude comments, or stares and pointing fingers. No one cares that he can't have ice cream and cake, or his legs don't work the way they should. In a world that is cruel to special needs children he found acceptance and even friends. But now NcSoft wants to take away the space he feels safe and accepted.
Maybe it's the innocence of childhood, but he believes someone will come along and save his City that he works so hard to protect. All he needs is a real life Hero, to save his Hero.
He will never be able to ride a bike, play soccer, or play a game of tag, But in City of Heroes, he can FLY!www.savecoh.com