Despite being orphaned at such a tender age, Will Reeve overcame his adversities and became a successful young man who continues to carry on his parent's legacy.
Life sure is uncertain as it can throw a curveball at anytime. Sometimes these challenges become too insurmountable for us to overcome, and it ends up breaking our entire world. However, there are those who muster what's left of their courage and brave through the hardships, exhibiting the true measure of their grit. Everyone should look up to these people who don't give up and continue to strive for gold in the face of adversity. Christopher Reeve's youngest son Will is one such example. Being orphaned at the age of 13, he grew up to become independent yet kind. The devastating loss taught him a hard lesson quite early in his life, and Will managed to mature because of them.
Will's tragedy began when his father, the Superman star, fell off a horse and suffered life-altering injuries in 1995. Unfortunately, Christopher's first and second vertebrae were shattered in the accident. But the physical disability caused due to it did not prevent the late actor from showering his love and support on his son. The doting father did his absolute best and Will vouched for the same. During an interview with PEOPLE in 2016, he opened up about his amazing childhood, adding that it was a "totally normal" one.
"They were the people who told me to turn off the TV, to eat my broccoli, to go to bed," he fondly recalled. "I understand that not every child experiences going to the grocery store and seeing their dad on the magazine at the checkout aisle, but … it was a totally normal childhood." He added, "The fact that he was paralyzed did present its own set of challenges because we couldn’t be spontaneous. That could be difficult, but my parents did such a good job of staying true to their values that I never felt deprived of a normal childhood, even though my experiences, at face value, were inherently different from other children my age." Will's dad even taught him to ride a bike and would even race him on his wheelchair.
Just as they were piecing everything back together, Will lost the Superman of his life to a heart attack resulting from septic shock in 2004, according to Epoch Times. Understandably, the teen was left reeling in shock and grief, but just as he was coming to terms with his father's death, another tragedy hit the beautiful family. His mother Dana passed away. The 44-year-old tragically succumbed to lung cancer within two years of her husband's death. Both these losses changed everything for the sports enthusiast who was now left to mourn his parent's death and the fact that he had been orphaned.
Despite the hardships, Will made it. He wrote a letter to his 13YO self, which he shared with CBS News. "I've got good news and bad news. I'll start with the bad, because you always need to know exactly what's going on, no matter what. That won't change, by the way. The bad news is: You're at the lowest point of your life. You're in a hospital room in New York City, and you've just said your final goodbye to Mom," read the letter. "You're 13. She's 44. Lung cancer. Never smoked. Gone, just like Dad, who died a year-and-a-half ago, which at the time was the lowest you had been. Now you're at a new bottom and you're terrified and confused and just so sad. But! Here's the good news: this is the low point. There's nowhere to go but up, and that's exactly where you're headed."
Fortunately, his brave and thoughtful mother had made arrangements for his care well ahead in time. Thus, he grew up in a happy home, in familiar surroundings, instead of having his life completely uprooted all of a sudden. 72-year-old Dr. Charles Morisini, Dana's father, reportedly told Daily Mirror in 2006, "Will will be very well looked after. Dana picked friends to look after him, everybody was very happy with that." Rightly so, Will grew up amidst people who loved him and also got the opportunity to spend time with his half-siblings, children of Reeve from his previous relationship. After completing college, he dabbled in acting and ultimately became an ESPN SportsCenter anchor.
Although his parents were no more around to see their son blossom into the gem he is today, Will knew he had to fulfil his dreams for his parents. He continues the good work of his parents through the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, which researches a cure for spinal cord injury and provides proper care for those suffering from paralysis. "I think his legacy is never going to go away and think that is a responsibility that I feel, to carry his and my mother’s legacy on for the rest of my life and hopefully beyond that," he told PEOPLE.