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  • 8/7/2019 Seattle boy with cancer turns into a superhero for a day

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    DEAN RUTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

    The Make-A-Wish Foundation made 13-year-old Erik

    Martin's dream of becoming a superhero come true.

    DEAN RUTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

    Electron Boy lances Blackout Boy (Jake Anderson) before

    turning on Dr. Dark (Edgar Hansen) in the battle between

    good and evil at the Space Needle. Erik Martin's dream of

    becoming a superhero came true Thursday. At left is

    Lightning Lad, played by actor Rob Burgess.

    Friday, April 30, 2010 - Page updated at 08:42 PM

    Permission to reprint or copy this article or photo, other than personal use, must be obtained from The

    Seattle Times. Call 206-464-3113 or e-mailresale@seattletimes.com with your request.

    Local boy with cancer turnsinto a superhero for a day

    By Katherine Long

    Seattle Times Eastside reporter

    Thursday was shaping up to be just another school day

    for 13-year-old Erik Martin, but then something

    extraordinary happened: Spider-Man called.

    Spider-Man happens to be one of the few people whoknows that Erik, too, has a secret identity ! he's

    Electron Boy, a superhero who fights the powers of evil

    with light.

    And Spider-Man needed Erik's help.

    Erik, who is living with liver cancer, has always wanted to

    be a superhero. On Thursday, the regional chapter of the

    Make-A-Wish Foundation granted him that wish with an

    elaborate event that involved hundreds of volunteers in

    Bellevue and Seattle.

    The local chapter, which serves four states, grants more

    than 300 wishes every year to children with

    life-threatening medical conditions, but only a few of them

    involve so many participants.

    Pulling off a wish like this one required a big story, and a

    lot of heart. And so, with a note of panic in his voice,

    Spider-Man explained the dilemma: "Dr. Dark" and

    "Blackout Boy" had imprisoned the Seattle Sounders in a

    locker room at Qwest Field. Only Electron Boy could freethem.

    Erik got into his red-and-blue superhero costume, and

    called on the powers of Moonshine Maid, who owns a

    DeLorean sports car. For good measure, more than 20

    motorcycle officers from the Bellevue Police Department

    and King County and Snohomish sheriff's offices escorted

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    DEAN RUTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

    A crowd of better than 200 gather outside Puget Sound

    Energy in Bellevue to cheer on Electron Boy as he saves a

    stranded worker in a bucket truck on Thursday.

    DEAN RUTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

    The Seattle Sounders are grateful as they meet Electron

    Boy, aka Erik Martin, who has freed them from their Qwest

    Field locker room Thursday. The Make-A-Wish Foundation

    arranged the adventure.

    Electron Boy to Seattle.

    "They shut down 405 ! they shut down I-90," marveled

    Moonshine Maid, aka Misty Peterson. "I thought it would

    just be me, in the car."

    At Qwest Field, Electron Boy was directed by frantic fans

    to the Sounders locker room, where the entire team was

    shouting for help behind jammed doors. With a little help

    from Lightning Lad, the alter ego of local actor Rob

    Burgess, Erik opened the door with his lightning rod. The

    Sounders cheered.

    "Thank you, Electron Boy," said defender Taylor Graham.

    "You saved us!" exclaimed forward Nate Jaqua.

    "Good job, big man," said defender Tyrone Marshall. And

    forward Steve Zakuani mutely bowed his thanks.

    Electron Boy seemed a little dazed by his powers. Out on Qwest Field, the Sounders gave Erik a hero's

    congratulations, posed for pictures and gave him a jersey and autographed ball.

    Everyone was startled when, overhead, the Jumbotron crackled to life.

    "Electron Boy, I am Dr. Dark and this is Blackout Boy," sneered an evil voice, as the villain ! Edgar Hansen,

    and his sidekick Jake Anderson, both of Discovery Channel's "Deadliest Catch" ! taunted the young

    superhero. "We are here to take over Seattle and make it dark!"

    On the Jumbotron, a video showed a Puget Sound Electric employee Jim Hutchinson trapped in the top of his

    bucket truck in front of PSE's Bellevue headquarters. Only Electron Boy could save him.

    As Electron Boy's motorcade ! the DeLorean, the 25 motorcycle officers and a white limo ! rolled through

    downtown Bellevue, pedestrians stopped in their tracks and pulled out their cameras to take pictures. Clearly,

    somebody famous was in town. But who could it be?

    "It's Electron Boy," Erik's older sister, Charlotte Foote, shouted out the window of the limousine.

    More than 250 PSE employees gathered outside the company's headquarters and cheered as Electron Boy

    freed the trapped worker. "It was so loud, people in office buildings were looking out the window," said

    Make-A-Wish communications director Jeannette Tarcha.

    But Dr. Dark and Blackout Boy were still at large. Electron Boy got a tip that the evil duo were at the Space

    Needle, where they had disabled the elevator and trapped people on the observation deck. Racing back to

    Seattle, Electron Boy stepped out of the DeLorean to a cheering crowd of dozens of admirers, and confronted

    his nemesis.

    "How did you find us, Electron Boy?" Dr. Dark demanded.

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    Erik wordlessly leapt at Dr. Dark with his lightning rod, freezing the villain. Then he unlocked the elevator and

    freed the people trapped upstairs.

    Bellevue police Officer Curtis McIvor snapped handcuffs on Dr. Dark and Blackout Boy, who couldn't resist

    some last words: "How can we thank you for saving our souls?"

    A tiny smile played around Electron Boy's mouth. Just for good measure, he held his lightning sword to

    Blackout Boy's throat again. The crowd went wild. "Hip-hip, hooray!"

    Seattle City Councilwoman Sally Bagshaw stepped forward with a key to the city and a proclamation that

    Thursday was Electron Boy Day. Afterward, Erik posed for the TV cameras, flexed his muscles and spent

    some time astride a Bellevue police motorcycle.

    "He's over the moon," said Foote. "This is definitely beyond anything we thought it would be."

    Watching her son run across the plaza in front of the Space Needle, mom Judy Martin said Erik goes to

    school when he's able, but is often too tired. "He hasn't had this much energy in a long time," she said. "They

    called it the power of the wish, and they're right."

    Like any good superhero, Electron Boy kept his innermost thoughts to himself. But he did have one important

    thing to say:

    "This is the best day of my life."

    Katherine Long: 206-464-2219 orklong@seattletimes.com

    Copyright The Seattle Times Company