The family of a Halifax boy undergoing chemotherapy is thanking a community of strangers who added a super-hero element to his treatment.

Six-year-old Ryan Adams is getting three years of treatment at the IWK hospital in Halifax to force his leukemia into remission.

His mother, Carmen Co-Dyre Adams, said he’s a brave boy. “[I told him] you're going to be fine, but it's going to be difficult at first. He was OK and that was it,” she said Friday.

“He's a tough guy. He's our little superhero.” 

'Awesome. It has my name on it and the Superman thing.' - Ryan Adams

Part of the problem was how scary the hospital could look and feel — especially the chemotherapy bag.

“I didn’t want him to see that stuff.  If I could take one little thing away, then I would do that,” she said.

So his mother decided she wanted to get him a superhero cover for the chemotherapy bag, but couldn't find any locally. There was one in Brazil but it wasn't available. 

Facebook connects strangers to help Ryan

Renee Dawe, a stranger who followed Ryan’s story on Facebook, decided to make one for the boy.

“I watched him in pictures being tested on and having things done. He wasn’t crying — kind of hero-like,” she said.

Dawe spoke to a second person, Allie Munro, a multi-media specialist, who connected to Mick Bottom, the man who runs the 3D printer at Dalhousie University.

It took Bottom three months — including much of his Christmas break — to make the cover. It took nine hours to print a hard plastic version of the cover. As everyone volunteered their time, it cost just $9.

“Basically to be able to give him superhuman power juice is a great feeling. I hope it really lifts his spirits,” he said.

“The idea is that Ryan will look at it and perhaps think that he’s getting super-human powers and help lift his spirits in a rather unfortunate medical treatment,” Munro said.

Passing on a kindness

Munro and Dawe had extra motivation for helping Ryan. Both of them spent periods of their childhoods in hospitals and know how hard it can be. They remember the people who gave them positive experiences to carry into adulthood. 

"I hope one day Ryan will look at the chemo cover and it will be a positive," Dawe said. "It won't be all negative."

Munro said the challenge was to make a custom-built bag functional. Most of what has been made with the 3D printer is more about showing its potential.

Ryan’s spirits are indeed lifted.

“Awesome. It has my name on it and the Superman thing,” he said.