Mohammad Sayed from Afghanistan has designed his own comic book hero named Wheelchair Man based on his own life events.
As a young boy growing up in Afghanistan, Mohammad didn’t have an ordinary childhood. It seemed it was the norm to play with dangerous weapons, without realising the risks.
One day Mohammad was seriously injured by a fallen bomb, he explained that the details are just too traumatic to discuss. Mohammad suffered a spinal cord injury making him unable to walk, the event occurring only days after losing his Mother. His Father took him to the hospital but unfortunately never returned.
Mohammad had to think quickly and figure out a way to take care of himself, so he started a business. For 7 years he lived in the hospital, repairing the cell phones of workers around him, he managed to make enough money to get by.
Such a blessing it was, after the hospital shutting down, for a friend of one of the Doctor’s to give Mohammad a home in the US. It was there, at the age of 12, that he was to receive medical treatment to straighten his spine.
Mohammad had in excess of 12 operations but despite the agony he is thankful that his spine is now straight and pain is minimal.
The move to the US was tough on Mohammad. Education systems are completely different there to in Afghanistan and although he was a bright student, grammar and spelling were an issue. Still determined to succeed at school he persisted and ended up doing extremely well. He later heard about NuVu – a STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) school founded by MIT students – he decided, that was the place for him. However Mohammad did not have the money to be able to pay for this luxury and so he was overjoyed when offered a scholarship to attend.
Here Mohammad learnt about engineering which he later used to design his own customisable Wheelchair’s named Key 2 Freedom. Such an innovative idea grabbed the attention of the White House and Mohammad was later asked to present the design to President Obama himself. His business, now RimPower offers assistive technologies.
Around the same time, Mohammad’s Mom took him to a Comic Convention and it was here that the idea of ‘Wheelchair Man’ was born. He wondered why there was not one super hero with a disability..
“I wasn’t going to wait for Marvel to do it. I want to celebrate the powers and abilities that wheelchair users have”.
Mohammad plans to develop a comic book series to inspire people with disabilities and has dreams of one day turning the stories into movies and video games.
“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”.
“That’s my message, that’s Wheelchair Man’s message, and that’s the message behind all the superheroes that we will create”.
Mohammad is now 20. Doctor’s said that if he had stayed in Afghanistan his life expectancy would have been 18.
He is thankful, hopeful, unstoppable and a wonderful inspiration.
Check out the video below for more on Mohammad’s story!