Marvel fan Ollie Gardiner was diagnosed with brain and spine cancer just before his 11th birthday in May 2015. It’s easy to compare him to his favorite hero, Iron Man ― Ollie battled through 10 cycles of chemotherapy and 34 sessions of radiotherapy before he died at age 13 in November 2017.
In honor of the bond Gardiner shared with his comic book hero, his parents wanted Iron Man included on Ollie’s gravestone. And they got their wish: Marvel and the Church of England gave the go-ahead, Ollie’s parents announced on Facebook this week.
The Church of England can have rather strict and decentralized rules regarding gravestones, depending on which diocese you belong to, but all parties reportedly agreed that this is the right thing to do. Marvel even offered to help coordinate with the church, according to Ollie’s parents, Pete and Jane Gardiner of Buckinghamshire, England.
“After a little persuasion, the church said we could have him on a few conditions, one of which being that the Marvel Corporation gave their permission,” one of his parents wrote Tuesday on “Ollie Gardiner’s Brain Tumour fighting page.”
“I thought that would be impossible to obtain, but contacted [Marvel] anyway,” the post continues. “Two weeks later I received an email and not only did they give permission, but also offered their help in mediating with the Church of England.”
“Such a lovely gesture,” the post continues. “Ollie will be smiling down knowing his idol will be with him for eternity.”
Ollie was laid to rest at a church in Aston Clinton, Buckinghamshire.