A SUPERHERO turned up at a school to create a very memorable occasion for two special little boys.
Iron Man ‘flew’ into Glendene Arts Academy, in Easington Colliery, to pay a surprise visit to lovable nine-year-old twins Corey and Charlie Hazard.
As well as being awe-inspiring for the boys, it was also a heart-wrenching experience for their parents, Marie and Thomas Hazard.
For the twins suffer from incurable muscle-wasting disease muscular dystrophy and will most likely be relying full-time on wheelchairs by the time they are 10.
They suffer from the Duchenne strain of the condition, which tragically means they have a life expectancy of just 21 years old.
In most cases, sufferers of Duchenne muscular dystrophy will die from heart or respiratory failure before they are 30.
But for an hour on the last day of term, Corey and Charlie and their parents, and fellow pupils who also suffer from disabilities, were treated to some light relief when their favourite Marvel Comics character stopped by.
The twins’ stepfather Thomas Hazard, a 33-year-old tattooist, said: “We thought we would give the boys a treat and put that spark back in their eyes to make them feel well. “Our boys were absolutely ecstatic over it.
“It was a case of ‘I’m not poorly any more, I’m a normal little boy’. Just to see the look on their faces was absolutely breathtaking – this is going to stay with them forever.”
Corey and Charlie live with their parents and sisters Katie-Jane, 16, and Sophie, 15, in a specially-adapted bungalow in Peterlee Close, Peterlee.
They have difficulty walking, standing up and have behavioural difficulties and were diagnosed with the condition aged four, after Marie noticed they were not developing as babies.
They already have to use wheelchairs if walking for more than a short distance.
Full-time carer Marie, 43, said: “It was just heartbreaking when the twins were diagnosed - every emotion went through my body. But they loved their treat, it was quite emotional.”
Thomas described every day as a struggle that “gets harder every single day”, with the boys unable to play outside, their behavioural problems causing more issues and their Marvel Comics heroes Iron Man and Spiderman memorabilia including posters and toys being a limited pleasure.
He said Charlie’s condition is deteriorating faster than Corey’s and their mobility has decreased since last year.
Iron Man was so moved by the boys’ plight, he made a donation from his appearance fee to the school, in Crawlaw Road.
This is not the first time the boys have been given star treatment – they had a private meeting with boyband JLS in London three years ago.