Max steps into his custom made superhero suit, outfitted to his exact specifications by volunteers. He dons a helmet and goggles in preparation for the racing wind. He’s about to experience something the Wright Brothers dreamed into existence over a century ago and that legions of adventurers have sought out ever since – he’ll get to fly, becoming weightless in a wind tunnel with his younger brother while his parents watch through the windows.
He can’t help but smile as the air lifts him into the semblance of a free fall. But this moment of freedom and weightlessness marks one of his final chances to achieve this kind of mobility and independence.
Max has already been measured for his first wheelchair.
Max’s rare condition whittles away at his muscles’ ability support his body. Over time, he will not be able to function normally. The most visible consequence of this will be loss of movement. He won’t be able to walk.
As his condition progresses, it takes hold of the heart muscles, an eventuality that makes survival into adulthood a mix of struggle, advanced medical care and luck.
Both of Max’s younger brothers have this condition and will face the same degeneration of their abilities to move like a normal growing child. But Max will be the first to become reliant on a wheelchair.
Superpowers and Wind Tunnels
What Max’s disease can’t take away are his superpowers – his optimism and adventurous spirit. On the day of his wish, he takes one step at a time, moving without restraint and preparing to fly.
Afterward, he leaves the indoor skydiving facility to the cheers of people from nearby businesses. He passes encouraging signs and the smiles of the crowd. Today, he’s the superhero with all the admirers. No matter what happens in the future, these memories belong to him for all time.