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  • I think that I started it. I am not sure if that's true but in my mind, I did. I started a friend's habit of wearing Captain America gear at his cancer treatments.

    Every time the man goes into the hospital, he, his wife and their children decorate the room with the superhero's symbol and they don shirts with the same, preparing to fight cancer one treatment at a time with something I started.

    The cancer came suddenly as it always does. Nobody expected it. Not at all. Not such a serious form in someone so young.

    A little over one year ago, my friend had surgery to remove a tumor found accidentally and entered a study on trial medication expected to save his life. He was positively radioactive there for a while. When he wrote about how he felt that superpowers should follow, I bought him a sweatshirt that seemed more a Captain America costume for his upper torso than anything else.

    "You are a superhero," I wrote in the card. "It doesn't matter what the odds are. You already are one in a million. A billion. You are the only you in the world. You can beat this."

    His kids loved the hoodie, wearing it in turns. He wore it to the film's opening, and he started wearing it to treatment. Everything seemed to be going well.

    "Keep wearing it," his nurses urged. "It's working."

    He did. It worked as much as it could. As it turned out, my friend was in the control group and taking a placebo. A sugar pill. To fight a particularly aggressive form of cancer.

    It metastasized. Just a little. Not nearly as much as it could. It spread to spots that grew in his lungs.

    A few weeks ago, my friend started new treatment, medicine that swings him about and bashes his entire body into the ground, leaving him wasted and broken as the Hulk never could. Day after day. Round after round. And my friend, my wonderful friend, one in 6.7 billion, give or take infinity, faces each round with hope, a smile and a Captain America t-shirt.

    I am not sure I started the tradition but every picture I see of him wearing it makes my heart swell and eyes well. His courage seems like a superpower to me and I know he's already a hero. He will beat this. The good guys always win in the comic books.
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