Father Enlists Superhero in Fight Against Cancer

Captain America helps children understand dad’s treatment

man tearing his shirt off isolated on white

Joe Boyle is battling an aggressive form of kidney cancer with the help of a superhero.

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When the 40-year-old Bowling Green, Ohio father started treatment, he came up with a unique way to explain his therapy to his three young children in terms they could understand: He enlisted Captain America.

 “We tell the kids that Dad is becoming Captain America and Dad is getting Super Soldier Serum because what was Captain America? He was a weak and sickly man and what did they give him? The Super Soldier Serum,” Mr. Boyle says.  “The star and the shield are our thing. That’s how we get through this.”


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Symbol of strength

The superhero metaphor fits Boyle perfectly, says his oncologist, Brian Rini, MD, of Cleveland Clinic’s Taussig Cancer Institute.

“It’s really reflective of him,” Dr. Rini says. “There’s a lot of symbolism of strength and pride and being a role model for people.”

Mr. Boyle, who has recently taken up running, has always dreamed of running a marathon. When he learned that a treatment he was soon to undergo might cause blisters on his feet, he decided to run his own marathon before starting the therapy.

Hundreds of people – including Dr. Rini – braved the cold, ice and snow last February to run the race.

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“I want them to remember forever the way people come together and the way people will come together for anyone in a time of need,” Mr. Boyle says.

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