Pediatric Cancer Patients Drawn as Superheroes, Alongside Philadelphia Union Soccer-Playing Sidekicks

PHILADELPHIA, PA - Earlier this year, pediatric cancer patients met with Philadelphia Union players to design themselves as superheroes on a comic book. Over the past few months, professional artists made their drawings a reality.

PHL17 was there as the comic books were unveiled to both the players and the young cancer patients.

A child’s fight against cancer is a battle no parent ever wants to witness. But Justin Buno says his 6-year-old son, Mickey, has fought cancer since the age of two. Justin says his son has fought the cancer the way a superhero fights a villain. Buno told PHL17, “He’s a strong guy and he gives us our strength every day, remembering what he went through.” Mickey is a fighter, who finished his latest treatment in May, and he’s been playing soccer ever since.

Because Mickey’s fight has been so heroic, the Philadelphia Union decided to partner up with 13 professional artists to turn his battle - and other children going through similar struggles - into superheroes on a comic book cover. Two of the comic book designers, Nate Cook and Jason Cunliffe, are the Union’s full-time tattoo artists.

On Thursday, at the Keystone Comic Con at the Philadelphia Convention Center, the kids got to see their designs in action. The kids were drawn as the superheroes, and the Union players as their sidekicks.

Cunliffe told PHL17, “The whole process was very humbling. To come in and see these kids that are battling, and things they shouldn’t have to go through but they are, they’re super strong. So being able to bring that to life for them was an amazing experience, and they deserve it. So hopefully our art lived up to what they were thinking.”

The artists also designed warm-up jerseys that the Union players will wear ahead of the club’s match on Sunday, September 23rd.

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