Boys fighting rare conditions get to see themselves as movie heroes

SALEM, Ore. — Two boys from Oregon who are battling rare medical conditions got the full Hollywood treatment Monday during a special screening at a movie theater.

Angel Stair, 11, and Bryce Weimer, 4, got to see themselves as the heroes of their favorite action flicks: Stair as the newest Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle and Weimer as a Guardian of the Galaxy.

They came to life on the big screen in customized movie trailers and posters, thanks to The For The Win Project, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit that celebrates kids who are in special circumstances as the real-life heroes they are.

Stair and Weimer have rare forms of muscular dystrophy.

Weimer, like his big brother Bryce, was born with spinal muscular atrophy, while Stair was diagnosed as a 3-month-old with merosin-negative congenital muscular dystrophy.

Tanya Stair, Angel’s mother, said there are roughly 10 children in the United States with her son’s diagnosis.

“They know that they’re loved, but I don’t know that they understand necessarily why people call them a hero, why we consider them heroes,” Tanya Stair told KPTV.

“Angel this last year has been battling kidney failure and lung failure and every time we go to the doctor it’s something new and it’s really negative, and this, I think, takes that whole thing away. We’re not thinking about the illness right now, we’re thinking about, ‘Hey I’m an actual hero, that is so cool!'”

The big reveal Monday included encouraging video messages from celebrities like Chris Pratt and movie-themed gifts.

After the movie trailers were played, each boy got to sign autographs and pose for pictures with their family and friends.

It’s the culmination of months of work carefully orchestrated by Jesse Wilson and Jaime Trueblood, the co-founders of The For The Win Project.

“It’s a relief because you want to deliver, you want to wow these guys and we want them to be excited and pumped up,” Wilson told KPTV. “They loved it and everyone had a great time, so that’s huge.”

“I’m really happy that I’m in a movie,” Angel Stair added.

“Just hearing his reaction in there, I was in tears,” Tanya Stair said. “He started crying when he saw his poster, and that was before the actual movie. … He’s my hero.”

Weimer’s father is the founder of the nonprofit Magic Wheelchair, which worked hand-in-hand with The For The Win Project.

He, too, was brought to tears.

“It’s really exciting for me and so much fun,” said Lana Weimer, Bryce’s mother. “He just gets kind of forgotten about a little bit, and he doesn’t even know how to handle all this attention, but it’s really neat, I love it.”

To learn more about the project and see the full Hollywood trailers, check out facebook.com/ForTheWinProject or forthewinproject.org.