MONROE, Ga. - If you've met 9-year old Trevor Harris, you would say he's pretty mature for his age. The trait helps when you've been through what the Monroe boy has experienced so early in life.
"Every time you get your blood drawn or have some kind of surgery, they give you a bead," says Trevor Harris
And Trevor has earned a lot of Beads of Courage, including the big one, for his bone marrow transplant.
"Now I think if of it, I think of it pretty often, and these Beads of Courage help me think of it sometimes," said Trevor.
The 9-year-old's story began with bruises. He bruised easily.
"I just knew something was not right," says his mother, DeDe Harris.
Trevor added, "If I ran and I bumped my head on that door, it would leave a bad bruise on my head. You're not supposed to bruise that easily."
In June of 2014, Trevor got sick, and was hospitalized at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.
"And they drew my blood and my counts were all down. All of them. My hemoglobin, my white blood cells, red blood cells, they were all down," says Trevor.
Dr. Katie Sutton and her team started running tests to figure out why. Turns out Trevor has a really rare blood disorder, Fanconi Anemia or F-A.
Fanconi Anemia is a genetic, or inherited condition, That leads to bone marrow failure, or an inability of your bone marrow to make enough red and white blood cells and platelets," says Dr. Sutton. "So your bone marrow is sort of a factory of all your blood cells, and it quits functioning properly."
Trevor's best chance was a bone marrow transplant -- but for that, the Harrises would have to drive to Cincinnati Children's Hospital, which is how Marrow Man came to life.
"It was created in the car, in our car," articulates Trevor.
So, as a family, using his dad's enthusiasm for comic books, the origin of Marrow Man evolved.
"I said, 'Well, we've got 9 hours to drive. So, let's brainstorm, and we've got to come up with the back story'" recalls Trevor's mother.
Marrow Man is a National Guardsman like Trevor's dad Wade -- who, like Trevor, needed a bone marrow transplant; leaving him with some serious gifts.
"He has superhuman strength, he can jump really far," exclaims Trevor.
But, to fight blood disorders like Fanconi, Marrow Man needed a weapon.
"I did 'anchor bombs.' Because and anchor, we found out, stands for hope. An anchor stands for hope," says Trevor.
Hope--something Trevor needed to get through his transplant last June. An anonymous 30-year old man donated his healthy marrow, which was given to Trevor. He spent a month in isolation. When he got out,
"I was like, "Whoa! I've been in a corridor for 30 something days!' And just being out there, just walking down the sidewalk, I was like, 'Wow, I forgot a whole world was out there," asserts Trevor.
Now back home, can't leave his house, because his new immune system leaves him vulnerable.
"He's like a baby. He's like a 6 month old baby. His immune system is still developing. So he is still in isolation and unable to go to school," points out Mrs. Harris.
But, Marrow Man is still out there fighting.
"I wrote the last part of the story," adds the young comic creator.
It ends in an epic battle at a Children's hospital, Marrow Man and Fanconi Anemia, fighting over a young girl.
"Marrow Man, after he destroys Fanconi, Marrow Man gives the girl Fanconi was trying to infect an anchor," describes Trevor.
An anchor. Hope.
"Like I said, if kids are going through a bone marrow transplant, it gives them hope. It's saying, it's going to be better. That there is someone out there fighting for you."
The Harrises hope to meet Trevor's bone marrow donor in June, the one year anniversary of his bone marrow transplant. They've formed a non-profit -- hoping to raise money -- to print more Marrow Man posters -- and comic books. They'd love for every child -- battling a blood disorder -- to have the poster as a reminder they're not alone.
Here's a link to Marrow Man's Facebook page: facebook.com/marrowmanhero