Ricky Mena, 36, a real life superhero from Pittsburg, California, has made thousands of children feel happy by dressing up as spider-man. He comes to hospitals around the world to visit sick children and bring them joy through jokes and toys.
Ricky first came up with the great idea in June 2014, when he was at the lowest financial point in his life. He was struggling to find a job, had to live on a friend’s couch, and didn’t ensure what to do with his life.
One night, he had a dream about his late grandmother who appeared to him and showed him a strange video of Spider-Man visiting a hospital full of sick children.
“He began swinging around bringing them joy through jokes, toys, and taking pictures” Ricky recalled.
Ricky asked his grandmother to explain about the video and she told him, “That is you and when you wake up, that’s what you’ll do.”
When he woke up, he decided to do that. He sold his old car and used the money to get the first Spider-Man suit, which cost him $1,400.
At first, Ricky was turned down by hospitals, but he persevered. He decided to work with terminal, special needs and other hospitalized children. And slowly, he was accepted and was starting to get invited from one hospital to another.
He has vowed to keep spreading hope and happiness to young kids in need. Since 2014, he has visited over 10,000 children who was sick and disabled.
Through gifts that he buys from the money people donate, Mena tries to fill the kids’ hearts with happiness and love.
He also founded a non-profit organization called “Heart of a Hero” and shared the stories of the children he met.
But there’s also a heartbreaking side to the story. Many of the children that he visited, unfortunately, leave this world and go to the heaven.
“I literally held Darry as he took his last breaths, coaching him to the other side” Mena explained.
Even after being diagnosed with PTSD, Ricky refuses to give up his work.
“My life is theirs and the journey goes on” says Mena.
In January 2018, he met his now wife, Kendall, 25, who was fascinated by his wonderful work and wanted to join him as ‘Spider-Gwen’.
Together, the couple has brought joy to more than 16,000 young patients around the world.
Since the outbreak of the coronavirus, Ricky’s work has been affected as hospital are no longer allowing special guests to visit the children. However, he and his wife are determined to offer video chats to the kids to make sure that all the children are happy and healthy.
Here’s how people reacted to Mena’s great work
“I literally just said to a friend that I am not sure sometimes how to live in a world where so much evil is working through human beings. And then I read this. Thank you for the reminder that there is more than evil, more than greed, more than selfishness. Thank you.”
“This made me cry. My son was in the PICU following brain surgery after a limb fell on his head, and then in the critical care unit. The moments like this bring a little of the outside normal to these kids and it is so important to have. Thank you for following your heart!”
“In tears. So beautiful and sad at the same time. You are an amazing human being. Those children were so lucky to have you when they passed away.”
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You can help him out by donating to his cause.