Josie Kimberlin is one 4-year-old who knows what real superheroes are made of.
They aren’t composed of muscles made of steel, or men flying around in the sky, or even women with impossibly tight leather suits. Instead, real superheroes are made of courage, bravery, and kindness. All of which this one little girl has displayed before she even entered kindergarten.
And the best part is — she completely knows her own strength.
Diagnosed in 2013 with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, Josie went into remission nine months after her cancer was discovered. So the night before “Superhero Day” at school, Josie’s mother, Alyssa Butler, encouraged her daughter to dress up as herself instead of a classic superhero. Butler told The Huffington Post:
“We were going through her closet the night before and she didn’t really have anything with any kind of superhero stuff on it, so I asked her, ‘Do you just want to go as yourself? Because you know you’re mommy’s superhero. And she just kind of ran with the idea and she loved it.”
Butler explained to Babble that she told Josie that she was her hero and how brave she was.
“She smiled, lit up with a glow that could light the night sky, put her hands up, and acted like she was flying! She felt awesome — she is my hero, and we want to show the other kids battling cancer and disease how strong they are. How they aren’t alone fighting, how they are their own superhero.”
According to her Facebook page, Josie’s Journey, strength has been a common theme in the family’s experience with cancer.
“My daughter has shown me how strong a child really is, how smart a woman really can be, and how easy my heart is broken. The day I heard the news of my angel having cancer, I completely lost it. Shortly after, I looked at her sweet smile and realized that I have to stand up be a stronger mother.”
Only 2 years old when she was diagnosed, Butler called Josie her “go getter” and notes that the experience taught her how to fight to not to lose her precious daughter. “My daughter has shown me how strong I really am, my weaknesses, and how fast a love of life can be taken,” she said on her Facebook page.
So what is Superhero Josie’s (or just Superhero “J” for short) super power? Well, as evidenced by her awesome cape, featuring princess castles and lightning and her even more awesome smile, her powers lie in destroying cancer one day at a time. “For cancer patients, it’s different and more challenging through every obstacle of life,” Butler said. But Josie is “glowing like a fire fly in the night sky. It’s amazing.”
Butler said while she didn’t actually get to see Josie’s classmates’ reactions to her superhero cape, she has been blown away by the support from her friends and classmates.
“About a month ago she was in the hospital for quite some time with low blood counts, meaning a hold on her chemotherapy,” she explained. “We didn’t know exactly what was causing her counts to drop so rapidly. Finally, after three weeks, her counts came back up. But while being there, her teacher explained to the children what was wrong with Josie, so they drew pictures and cards with praises and little monsters on them showing their love for her. When she went back to school, Josie was scared, of course, like the first day [of school] all over again! Little did she know, there were a classroom full of kids on the other side of that world who were so surprised to see her! Her friends shouted out, ‘It’s Josie!’ and ‘Josie’s here!’ [and] the look on her face was remarkable.”
The strength of children like Josie and their families is so inspiring to see, and in my book, she’s exactly the type of superhero that this world needs.
Plus, let’s face it — her cape is way cooler than Batman’s.