A terminally ill Marvel Studios fan will now be seeing Avengers: Endgame early after posting on Reddit that due to a "rare genetic disorder," he may not survive to see the film's wide release this spring.
"Liver cancer, mouth cancer, bone marrow failure. Will probably be dead before April. I've heard of people getting early screenings before," wrote u/alexander_q, an Australian native, in a post last week. "How do I get in on this action? I'm not a child or anyone with a particularly tragic story. Just a normal guy. I'm 33, lost my sister three years ago to the same rare genetic disease it turns out I have too. I'll leave behind a devoted girlfriend and an adopted greyhound. I thought I'd make it to April at least but my bone marrow is toast. Any suggestions?"
The disease is Fanconi anemia, a rare disorder that mainly affects bone marrow, disrupting the production of different blood cells that cause clotting and fight infection, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. As a result, those stricken with the illness have a higher chance of developing cancer and experiencing organ failure.
Over the last seven days, the post was updated with incredible developments in the story, like a viral Twitter hashtag, "#Avengers4Alexander"; selfless people offering to donate their organs; and even a friend of u/alexander_q's calling Chris Hemsworth (the MCU's Thor) on his behalf.
"I don't know what the outcome will be but this has been amazing. If it doesn't pan out don't sweat it - I'll carry your kind words with me and that's worth far more," he wrote in the penultimate update, half-jokingly adding, "Lastly, I don't mean to be greedy but since I'm triple dying can we throw Captain Marvel into the mix?"
Captain Marvel, which opens March 8, is set in the 1990s but will tie into Endgame in a big way by showing audiences how Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) met Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) in the first place. Fury placed an emergency call to Danvers just before he disappeared at the very end of Avengers: Infinity War, another casualty of Thanos' Infinity Gauntlet snap that also killed off Spider-Man (Tom Holland), T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman), Groot (Vin Diesel), and half of all living beings in the universe.
"Disney have reached out and we are discussing options. I cried when I read their email. It's everything I hoped for and I owe it to all of you," reads the final update.
"I didn't expect that Disney would actually reach out to me. At the outset I was just looking for information on how to contact them myself," u/alexander_q tells SYFY WIRE. "I'm just some dying guy among a large cohort of dying guys who love these movies because they're great. But the combined voices of reddit and Twitter would have been impossible to ignore."
This happy ending is reminiscent of when superhero actors, from the MCU, the DCEU, and the Fox-owned Marvel Universe, banded together last March in order to grant the wish of a young terminally ill boy who simply wanted to meet the Avengers. Chris Evans (Captain America), Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool), Chloe Bennett (Daisy Johnson), Paul Bettany (Vision), and even Zachary Levi (Shazam) all offered their help in the matter.
"I'm glad this happened," adds u/alexander_q. "I hope it's raised awareness of Fanconi Anemia, and as morbid as it sounds, I like that it's stimulated conversation about death and dying. Dying feels like my day job now and few people who know me are comfortable talking about it. The internet gives enough distance to make people more comfortable about it."
Avengers: Endgame opens in theaters everywhere April 26.