All of us who have grown up with a love for horror and the things that go bump in the night have memories of how it touched our lives. The grandfather you used to watch old school fright flicks on TV with on a Sunday afternoon. Going to conventions with your dad. Running around with your friends on Halloween, taking pride in being able to identify all the costumes they couldn't. Whatever the case may be, our love of all things scary has touched as all over the years, in one way or another.
But few, I would submit, have ever had their lives as profoundly touched and influenced by a love for the spooky as five-year-old Aidan Reed. Because in Aidan's case, it's that love that is quite literally keeping him going.
I'm a little late to the game on this one, but the other day I came across this boy's amazing story, and it's been on my mind ever since. For as long as his parents can remember, Aidan has been obsessed with monsters. And even though he's never actually seen a horror movie, he is extremely versed in the monstrous, and knows his Wolfmen from his Gill-Men. He loves drawing them, dressing up as them, and playing with his collection of monster toys.
"I kind of like to draw... scary clowns and aliens," he explained in a story on TODAYshow.com last month. "I like to dress up as nice clowns and scary ones. I can be a wolf or a zombie... Oh, and let me tell you something! There's a Sleestak costume I really want..."
Any five-year-old that's up on Land of the Lost clearly has a serious monster affinity. Most of all, he loves drawing them. Up until now, it's been no more than a little kid's hobby--but now, it's become the greatest gift his parents could have ever hoped for under their very unfortunate circumstances.
Last September, Aidan was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Since that time, he has been going through chemotherapy, spinal taps, and all other assorted hardships for weeks and months on end. The anguish for the Reed family is, needless to say, severe--and made more so by the fact that the medical bills were starting to pile up way beyond their capacity to pay them. Selling the family home was becoming more and more of an inevitability.
That is, until Aidan's Aunt Mandi decided to put a few of the boy's drawings up for sale on Etsy, as a way of deferring some of the costs. Her original goal was to sell about 60, at $12 a piece, on the hope that it might bring in a little cash. Fast forward a couple months, and the Reed family has received more than 2,500 orders from all over the world--alleviating the financial hardship they had been enduring, and ensuring that Aidan would continue to receive the care he so desperately needs.
According to doctors, Aidan still has two years of chemo ahead of him. But thanks to his passion for movie monsters like Nosferatu, his family can put money worries aside, and focus all their energies on bringing their boy back to health. The outpouring of support has been amazing, and includes a personal message of encouragement to Aidan from Tyler Mane, the actor behind one of the screen's most iconic monsters, Michael Myers, in the last two Halloween films.
Aidan sounds like one cool little boy, and The Vault of Horror wishes him all the best in his battle. To help him fight that battle, I encourage you to visit the Aid for Aidan Facebook page. You can also check out his drawings on Etsy, or read the family blog to keep up-to-date on everything going on in this talented kid's life.
If he loves drawing monsters, wait till he gets old enough to actually see them in the movies. And I'd love to see him old enough to walk into an R-rated movie one day all on his own, wouldn't you?
"QUITE SIMPLY, THE BEST HORROR-THEMED BLOG ON THE NET." -- Joe Maddrey, Nightmares in Red White & Blue
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