Emily White was born with a combination of Spina Bifida and hydrocephlaus, which are two life-compromising medical conditions. Instead of limiting her, however, her conditions only encourage her to dream–partially because her dad, Dan White, encourages her.
So, how does he encourage her? He created a comic book inspired by Emily called “The Department of Ability,” which portrays a wheelchair-bound superhero whose powers come from her disability. This makes me extremely happy as a writer myself, because so often, there is a lack of diversity within the comic book world–and yet so many kids read them, which makes this a teachable moment for many.
White explains how this lack of diversity in comics spurred him to write his own for TODAY:
“The project began when Emily, my daughter, was 3, and now she’s 9. We searched and searched, and we just couldn’t find anything in entertainment industry that related to her. So I decided to create it.”
As of now, White has an agent for the comic book, and is excited for its publication–not just for personal reasons–but for what it represents for people with disabilities:
“The disabled community is so dear to me, and I want to see them represented in a more positive light. Emily is so much more than her wheelchair. She loves sports, arts, comics, music and more. She’s a force to be reckoned with.”
In the end, White hopes that his comic will help kids with disabilities feel more confident, and feels comics are the best way to do so:
“The best way to do that is through comics and superheroes, I think. Because they’re brilliant and unlimited. Just like these kids.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself.