Dad immortalises his dying son by turning him into a superhero in heartwarming book series
The most devastating piece of news you can be confronted with as a parent is that your child is suffering from a severe illness. And if the condition turns out to be terminal, then entering into a state of emotional turmoil can feel like an inevitable consequence.
One father, however, is determined not to let his own son's terminal illness tear his family apart. To help him and his family get through what is naturally an incredibly difficult time, 37-year-old Darren Garwood from Essex, England, has turned his dying son Jackson into a fictional superhero.
The doting dad has written a series of 10 books, entitled Jackson Superhero, which have since been published and all feature his son as the central superhero.
This is the heartwarming moment that Garwood reads an excerpt from the books to his son:
Jackson, now aged four, is in need of constant care due to a degenerative condition known as KRABBE disease - a very rare and often fatal disorder of the nervous system.
"Our lives came crashing down when Jackson was diagnosed, I tried to blank it all out," Garwood recalls. "We were told he was only supposed to live until he was two. I wanted to stop thinking, I wanted to sleep and never wake up. But my wife, Rebecca made me realise all Jackson has is us, and I needed to be there."
To demonstrate just how rare the illness is; on average, only one child a year is diagnosed with it. Garwood and his wife Rebecca were made aware of the upsetting diagnosis when Jackson was only nine months old. The condition has hugely impacted Jackson's ability to move and see.
"With Krabbe Disease, you lose every skill that you had achieved," Garwood explains. "What I always try to get across to Jackson is that when you are asleep, you can do anything you want to do. You can let your imagination run wild."
Garwood was inspired to write the series when his wife asked him if he thought their son ever dreamed and what it was he dreamed about.
"I decided from that to write Jackson Superhero," Garwood said. "He might not be able to do much - the condition affects everything including his brain. But I can help him dream by reading to him."
"The books really don't take long to write, a few days at most and I always like to use words that Jackson is familiar with," he added. "I sent them off to publishers last February and was published by October 2018, I was thrilled when I'd sold 4,000 copies by Christmas."
Darren and Rebecca Garwood also hope the books will give Jackson's one-year-old sister a way to connect with her brother when he is no longer around.
The series is available for purchase on Amazon.
We wish the Garwood family all the best.