On 12 July, Ivan Hollingsworth took to Twitter to ask for help in finding a Marvel superhero actor who would send a message to his “brave” 13-year-old son Seb, who had recently undergone a life-saving open heart surgery. “Long shot I acknowledge, but I think he deserves it! Who’s up for the challenge,” Hollingsworth tweeted.
His tweet gained more than 10,000 likes and even grabbed the attention of Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds.
The Marvel actor replied to the tweet just one day later. “Can you open your DM’s?” he asked. Hollingsworth replied: “OMG!!! Opened! Seb will go wild. This is Seb’s bedroom!!!”
The dad attached an image to his tweet, which showed a Deadpool poster hanging in his son’s room, along with another poster for Reynolds’ movie Free Guy.
A few hours later, Hollingsworth returned to Twitter to share footage from the moment he showed his son Seb the personalised video message from Ryan Reynolds. Fighting back tears, he explained to his son that he sent out a request on Twitter for an MCU character to send some words of encouragement. He handed Seb his phone to watch the video from Reynolds.
“Hi, I’m Ryan. You can call me Deadpool, call me Green Lantern, call me anything you like,” Reynolds said in the clip.
“I hear you’re going through it pal,” he said. “It sounds like you’ve got a ton of amazing people who are in your corner and love you very much. I just want to send you all my well wishes and send you all my love.”
“I hope we get to meet in person one of these days, pal. Hang in there, you are doing amazing and I’m super proud of you, alright Seb.”
Seb was at a loss for words as he sat up in his hospital bed and watched the video message from his favourite Marvel star. “How cool is that? Look at that smile,” Seb’s father said. “He called you, buddy.”
His mother Nadine chimed in from behind the phone camera: “Seb, Ryan Reynolds knows who you are!”
“And he didnt swear, that’s pretty amazing,” she joked.
Ivan Hollingsworth shared the video on Twitter, and thanked Ryan Reynolds for his kind words.
“The very awesome @VancityReynolds has made our Heart Hero’s day! Thank you so much,” he wrote.
In an interview with ITV, Seb’s father explained that his son was just 16-weeks-old when he had to undergo life-saving open heart surgery at Freeman Hospital in Newcastle, England. His most recent surgery was to improve his heart function.
“It’s hard to explain how he feels because he is so, so exhausted but it really meant the world to him,” Hollingsworth said about his son receiving a video from the Deadpool star. “And Ryan has since sent another follow up video which I can’t share, but it definitely made him chuckle.”
“It’s just amazing that he’s taken the time to do it, and it’s not just for show, it means a lot.”