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Why 'Captain America: The First Avenger' Inspires Me as Someone With Chronic Illnesses

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I have multiple chronic illnesses, including mitochondrial disease, Kabuki syndrome, anxiety, learning disabilities and asthma. I have always loved Marvel movies. Some of my best childhood, and even recent memories revolve around these movies. The idea that anybody, even the most unlikely people are capable of great things inspired me as somebody growing up with chronic illnesses.

“Captain America: The First Avenger” in particular sticks out to me. Like me, Steve Rogers has asthma. Rogers also proves that if you want something and believe in it enough, no matter how many people say you should give up, your dreams can come true. Having a chronic illness means you have to fight for anything, even people without chronic illnesses take for granted. Growing up, teachers and doctors constantly doubted me and didn’t believe in me. Teachers assumed I was lazy, or just wasn’t trying hard enough. I had teachers suggest that I should be held back, or even accuse me of faking my illnesses.

Now, I’m in college to teach preschool, doing an internship, and even made the Dean’s List last semester. Like Rogers, things have not come easily to me, but my life has been 100 percent worth the fight. Every superhero needs their challenge they have to overcome, and my health just happens to be mine.

Thank you, Cap, for making me believe in myself. And thank you Stan Lee for giving me these characters, and this world. You gave me so much more, you gave me courage and confidence. I think of you every single day I use my Avengers backpack.

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Originally published: April 6, 2017
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