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Colorado boy gets to meet his 'super' hero

BY BECCA SCHIMMELrschimmel@paducahsun.com

A "Super " wish was granted by the Make-A-Wish Foundation at the annual Superman Celebration in Metropolis, Ill., this week.

Benjamin Murillo, 8, of Denver, Colorado, suffers from intractable epilepsy. More than anything, he wanted to meet Superman and go to the Superman Celebration.

At one week old, Benjamin had open-heart surgery. Five months later, he was having 45 seizures a day. At 17 months, he had brain surgery to try to limit his seizures.

And while his condition has improved after surgery, it is still untreatable, said Nancy Murillo, Benjamin's mother.

Superman became the motto for the Murillo family, she said, after Benjamin was given a Superman blanket while he was in the hospital.

"He just kept bouncing back. My sister-in-law made a Superman blanket, and it just depicted who Benjamin was," Nancy said.

When the family flew into Paducah on Wednesday, they were greeted by Metropolis Mayor Billy McDaniel and Superman, portrayed by Josh Boultinghouse from Texas.

"To see the happiness and joy in their faces touched my heart," Boultinghouse said.

Benjamin, his mother, father and two older brothers will be staying for the weekend and flying out of Paducah on Monday.

The local chamber of commerce gave Benjamin an official Superman costume, and he participated in the kids costume contest Friday.

McDaniel said Benjamin would also lead the costume parade.

Nancy Murillo was so grateful to the Make-A-Wish Foundation for this opportunity for her family to leave the everyday stresses behind and come visit a new place.

"This experience has been awesome because they make it all about making memories."

Just like the Murillos, thousands of people from all over the country attend the Superman Celebration to make memories.

Kathy Butler of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has been to the celebration every year for the last nine years. Her favorite part is the feeling of community and friends she has made there.

McDaniel agreed.

"That is my favorite part. It isn't about the tourism; this is a family reunion," he said.

The celebration will be going on through Sunday. For more information, go to www.supermancelebration.net.

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