"Dad loves #scifi because it's such a great way to explore the things that matter most."
"Themes of #hope, #courage, good conquering evil -- why dad loves #comics."
These are some of the tweets involving some well-known Hollywood names and faces on Twitter lately. In a forum not always known for bringing people together, a young woman has succeeded in a great adventure of celebrating life, even as her beloved father's comes to an end.
Superheroes were the trending theme, and the most powerful of them all is a man named Stratford Caldecott. Since his Marvel comic-collecting boyhood, he's had a lifelong fascination with action heroes. His family was disappointed they never got to take him to see the latest Captain America movie, "Winter Soldier," not yet released in England.
"He is in so much pain in his lower back that sitting for any length of time is now impossible," his wife, Leonie, tells me. Leonie shares: "So my lovely journalist daughter said, 'Why don't I ask Marvel if we could borrow an advance copy of the movie ... and while I'm at it, why don't I ask if some of the actors could send a selfie to cheer him up, too?'"
Sophie Caldecott aimed high. Knowing what a superhero fan her dad is and how it would both cheer him up and also bring people together -- and hoping to encourage men to go see a doctor (had her father found out about his cancer sooner, he might be with us longer). "We're also going to tweet the 'Avengers' actors and see if they will take a picture of themselves holding a sign saying 'Captain America/Thor/Iron Man/(insert name of character here) for Strat!'"
And with a daughter's love for her father and a little creativity, the hashtag #CapForStrat was born. Actors who have recently played superheroes and villains caught wind of it and got in on the action, starting with the Hulk himself, Mark Ruffalo. Captain America (actor Chris Evans), Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and many more have joined in, including fans.
"We had no idea it would gather speed in this way," Leonie says. "Strat has been overwhelmed by it all; he has been smiling for the first time in weeks. But he wants to make sure that it's more about getting men to be aware of the early symptoms of prostate cancer, rather than about him. He is in the situation he is in now because he was diagnosed too late."