Why My Brother Makes Me Believe in Superheroes

I believe in superheroes. My brother wears his superhero cape and mask around the hospital to show his strength and his courage as he fights this battle against Mitochondrial Disease. It’s a disease with no treatment, no surgery, no magic pill and no cure. My brother, Tyler, and I both have several rare, incurable diseases and this has brought a bond between us like no other.

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I was 12 on April 16th, 2011 when Tyler had a seizure in my arms. I remember screaming for help, thinking it was my fault, collapsing on the ground crying with my younger brother, not knowing what was happening or if he would survive the night. Tyler turned blue within a matter of minutes and ended up having two seizures that night. Soon after, he was diagnosed with Mitochondrial Disease and he is still showing the world what amazing things he can accomplish despite the obstacles in his way.

Since then, Tyler has cheated death twice (for a total five of times), which is way too high for an 8-year-old boy! I will admit the facts and statistics scare me because I know I will probably lose my best friend, but I pray every day a miracle treatment or cure will come. I just hope it comes and saves my superhero before it’s too late.

Over the weekend, Tyler and I were talking while I was pushing IV medication through his Arteriovenous fistula and several things he said reminded me of the past. We were just having a normal conversation about something funny and then he said he had something to say.

I listened and he broke my heart. I hate it when he says he feels lonely and scared. He told me how thankful he is to have me so he doesn’t feel so lonely because I understand the pain, the tears, the tubes, the wires and the hurt. I started to cry. It’s not fair that an 8-year-old boy says he wants to rip his tubes out because it hurts too much. Sadly, this is his experience with his disease.


Through everything that has happened, we are both somehow alive today. I think it is because we have each other. Being sick has made us best friends ever since day one. I am proud to be his sister because he has shown me how to live my life a little differently than most do. Before I finished giving him his medicine, the last thing he told me was this: “But life is just life, you know? Whatever happens, happens.”

Superheroes are supposed to sacrifice things in their life for others and that is exactly what Tyler does. Every day Tyler could only care about himself and how much pain he is in. Instead, he puts others, including me, first. It is something we have always done since the beginning.

Having two sick kids in our family is hard enough on our parents and siblings. They need a break just as much as we do. Even though Tyler is hurting, he takes the time to worry about others before he worries about himself. Tyler defines what a true hero is: courageous, bold and a fighter.

This post originally appeared on Chronically Awesome.

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