Wheelchair Man, a comic book to empower disabled people.
March 10, 2017
I want to motivate people in wheelchairs, especially kids, to not give up on their dreams. Whatever they want to do they’ll do it 10 times better than if they had their legs because the pain and struggle that we go through makes us stronger. – Mohammad Sayed
Mohammad Sayed is from Afghanistan. He was only 5 years old when he suffered from a traumatic spinal cord injury when his home was bombed. His mother had died few days before of cancer. His father took him to a hospital in Kabul but never went back to pick him up.
The prognostic quickly arrived. He had a spinal injury and could never walk again. Having nowhere else to go, he just stayed there living with the other patients and wheeling around in his wheelchair. Some doctors including DR William, an American doctor took care of him.
To find a way to survive and provide his needs like food, clothes and school, he found little jobs like fixing the employee’s phone and teaching Farsi to foreigners in the hospital. He also enjoyed this time to learn English by listening to the BBC.
In 2007, due to incessant bombings the hospital had to be evacuated. Mohammad and some guards were the only ones to stay in this “ghost town” the hospital had become.
Few weeks later, Maria Pia Sanchez, a nurse, friend of Dr William came to this hospital to see Mohammad. She wanted to give him a home in the US and adopted him.
In 2012, when he was 12, he went to the US to receive a spinal treatment. He had to suffer from 12 difficult operations. He said :
I tell people that I have died three times and come back to life – one was when I had my accident, one was when my father left me, and the third time was when I had this surgery.
But those operations were successful and he doesn’t suffer anymore.
His life in the US was full of new challenges. He had to go to school in a totally different cultural context, where boys and girls are studying together and where dress codes and behaviors are not the same.
In 2014, once graduated from NuVu – a STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) school, he figured out that many companies were making products for wheelchair users but nothing for the wheelchair itself and that the market prices of those items were exorbitant. So he started designing his own inventions meant to be controlled BY the user FROM his wheelchair.
In the same time he developed his inventions, during a visit at the Boston Comic Con, the absence of superheroes representing the wheelchair community stroke him.
Deciding he wouldn’t wait for Marvel to do it, he started to create a superhero called Wheelchair Man based on his own real-life story. Arielle Epstein is the illustrator of his stories.
Meet Wheelchair Man !
Wheelchair Man is a teenager, a Muslim and an immigrant. He’s against hatred and he wants to end violence and make this world a better place. One of his main superpowers is that he can make criminals see the consequence of a crime before they have even committed it. – Mohammad Sayed
But his idea doesn’t stop here. Mohammad wants to develop a comic book serie with an opus on four new superheroes: Wheelchair Woman, Wheelchair Girl, Wheelchair Boy and Captain Afghanistan. He also wishes to develop his comic into peaceful video games and movies.
My goal is to help people in wheelchair[s] both psychologically and physically, he says. A world where every wheelchair user is empowered rather than disabled.
Go for it Mohammad!
For now, you can help him editing his comic through the crowfunding platform: https://www.gofundme.com/2r65vtwc