08/21/2013 02:05 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Michael Lucco, Pittburgh's 'Beetle Boy,' Says Superpowers Helped Him Fight Disease As A Kid (VIDEO)

Fourteen years after saving his city’s beloved fountain, Michael Lucco still finds strength in his superhero moment.

When Lucco was 6 years old and battling cystic fibrosis, the Make-A-Wish Foundation stepped in to give the sick boy a boost, WTAE reports. On Oct. 19, 1999, the organization helped turn the boisterous kid into “Beetle Boy,” a yellow-costume wearing superhero who in just one day saved a woman trapped on a train track, rescued a mascot in front of a packed stadium and prevented the Green Goblin from turning off the fountain in Pittsburgh’s Point State Park.


“I felt so amazing after that,” Lucco told WTAE. “[The fountain] may look a little smaller than it used to, but it always brings me back to that same part, whenever I was actually using my powers.”

michael lucco

Lucco’s testimony after all these years echoes the Make-A-Wish mission.

The nonprofit doesn’t just hope to distract suffering kids for a moment. It works to enrich their lives and to actually improve children’s health.

In a 2011 survey, 89 percent of medical professionals polled said that introducing a wish into a young patient’s life has the ability to improve the child’s health.

“The numbers that floored us did not surprise the parents of wish kids we surveyed -- not one bit,” Paul Alvin, Make-A-Wish vice president of brand advancement, wrote in a HuffPost blog last year. “They agreed that the wish experience not only helped their sick children -- they said it helped the whole family, and continues to help long after the wish is granted.”



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