"It was about three weeks before Christmas, 2009. I was 10 years old when I said, 'Mom I have a lump in my neck.'"
Eddie was thrust into a whirlwind of biopsies, MRIs, and hospital visits when he was diagnosed with malignant papillary carcinoma of the thyroid. He had his entire thyroid removed at Memorial Sloan-Kettering in New York, and later had to undergo radioactive therapy because the cancer had spread to his lymph nodes.
“The pill I had to take was kept in a lead box and when they opened it, it was smoking… My mother was trying to make me feel better by telling me that I might be like Spiderman,” Eddie shared, revealing the first comfort he took from a superhero during his treatment.
The heroes soon became a huge part of Eddie’s life. He watched and re-watched Spiderman, the Hulk, X-men, Ironman, and recently Captain America and Thor when he was confined to his bed. When Eddie had to spend hours holding still for nuclear scans, his mom would read Marvel Comics to him to help pass the time.
When Eddie was asked by Make-A-Wish® staff what his fondest wish was, he immediately knew what he wanted. “I want to meet Stan Lee,” he declared.
Eddie’s mom asked, “Who is Stanley?”
“Almost everybody said that, when I told them my wish,” Eddie said, exasperated. “I had to explain it’s S-T-A-N L-E-E.” Stan Lee, the man behind the Marvel Comics that Eddie adored.
Just one month later, Eddie was taken to the Wizard World Comic Con in Philadelphia. Bubbling with nerves and excitement, he first got to meet some of his favorite actors – Patrick Stewart, James Hong, Chris Hemsworth, and many more! However, the highlight of his Eddie’s day was talking to Stan Lee. He was able to ask so many questions, and although Mr. Lee had to return to his other fans eventually, he promised Eddie that he’d love to see him again.
Meeting Stan Lee inspired Eddie to pursue his dream of working in animation. “As long as you love what you are doing, it is never work,” Lee told Eddie, and Eddie took it to heart.
“I have learned that life is a short and precious gift. I hope one day I will be able to ‘never work’ and bring joy to so many people, just like Stan Lee has done for me.”