Superheroes come in all shapes and sizes. So when Dan Levy found out his son Max needed to have a metal disk inserted into his chest to help with treatments for his hemophilia—a disorder that prevents blood from clotting properly—he came up with a pretty heroic way to explain the procedure to his 3-year-old.
"We had just seen the movie Iron Man a few days before," Levy told NBC News. "I said to him, 'Do you remember the scene where Tony Stark takes the port, takes the arch reactor out of his chest and puts the new one in? You're going to get one of those.'"
"I get to be Iron Man," Max responded.
Hence the nickname: Iron Max. Levy and his wife even started using the #IronMax hashtag on social media as a way to update others on their son's progress from the Children's Hospital of Pennsylvania. Eventually, Marvel heard about the Iron Max story, and what happened next is nothing short of amazing: The creators of Iron Man contacted Levy and told him they were giving Max a cameo in one of their comic books!
"I'm not a crier, I'm not—it was literally the first time, I just came into the room, and I just wept," Levy said. "It's been a year and a half of...honestly not great [things]. This kid deserves a win."
Marvel was hoping other sick kids would be encouraged by Max's story, so along with the cartoon drawing, his actual photo was featured in the back. "Say hello to 5-year-old Max Levy, a young kid who's making a big difference," the caption reads. "Since heroes belong in comic books, we couldn't resist giving Max a cameo in ours!"
Max, now 6, thought so, too. "I think it's pretty cool being in a comic book," he said. "Like it's really really cool. I'm making [other kids] not scared because there's a kid who's a superhero and they would like to be that I guess...maybe some people are that."
"Since he's been a baby he's been told what he can't do and now it's...kind of neat to see what he can do, and he can be anything—he can be a superhero," Levy said. "That's just the coolest thing."
We couldn't agree more!