Read below for a guest post from Ron Sandison.
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” – Isaiah 43:2
The Marvel Comic summer blockbuster movies portray a superhero as possessing amazing gifts like a robotic outfit to transform a mere man into an ant warrior or a bat-cape to fly supersonic speed, undetected through Gotham City.
A real superhero is an ordinary man or woman who in times of crisis is able to draw forth an extraordinary quality of strength and courage from within himself or herself to triumph in the midst of severe circumstances. True superheroes willingly risk their own lives for others by sacrificing their comfort and safety. As Jesus taught his disciples,
“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” – John 15:13
Tyler Gianchetta was developmentally delayed in his communication and fine motor skills, and at 2 ½ years old he was diagnosed with high-functioning autism. The Huntington, NY, public school district wanted him to attend an elementary school with a special education program. Tyler’s mom, Susan, informed the school district, “My son will not attend a school twenty minutes away from our home but the same school as his friends.” Ironically, years later, Tyler served as a teacher’s assistant at the very school his mom fought vigilantly for him to attend.
Tyler stated, “As a young child, I had trouble expressing myself. I learned self-expression through my passion for music.”
Michael, Tyler’s dad, shares with relatives and friends, “Picture a five-year-old child running around the house in his underwear singing and performing Whitesnake’s Here I Go Again. That’s Tyler!”
While in high school, Tyler helped a desperate friend, who after being fired, texted him, “I want to kill myself!” Tyler counseled him, “You are too good a person to want to die.” Later his friend texted, “You were right. I just got a new job.”
Tyler is currently a sophomore honor roll student majoring in mathematics at Clark University. He said, “I chose to attend Clark because the students are accepting. For example, I wore my New York Islanders jersey to an assembly for orientation and sat next to a follow student who was wearing his Bruins jersey. After we talked about our passion for hockey, I discovered that he also had autism and I had a new friend.”
A Real Superhero
On July 15, 2015, Susan drove Tyler to his doctor appointment in Long Island. As they chatted and enjoyed the summer ride, Susan’s body suddenly began to shake uncontrollably, and she became unresponsive.
“Mom, are you OK?” Tyler fearfully shouted as their car raced like a derailed train into a tree. Smoke from the engine instantly saturated the car, as Tyler frantically attempted to break free from the erupting inferno. “’Don’t let mom die!‘ was the only thought on my mind. I responded with instinct,” Tyler said.
Breaking loose from his passenger seat, Tyler swiftly smashed the driver-side window with his bare hand and rescued his unconscious mom from the mangled mess.
Thirty seconds later the car exploded. Thick black clouds of smoke were engulfing the air, with the approaching sound of sirens in the distance. Tyler, gasping for breath, lay by the roadside next to his mom, who had a shattered hip, broken neck, cracked ribs, and burn injuries.
Tyler shared, “The hand of God was visible in two ways. First, the car was on a steep incline following the crash, giving me leverage to pull my mom from the vehicle. Second, I was able to open my passenger door. When the insurance company investigated the charred wreckage a few days later, they were unable to open my door. The claim agents were baffled that we were able to escape.”
After being branded as a hero in an interview with CBS New York, Tyler declared, “I don’t know when my hand got broken. I don’t know if it was from the accident or from pulling my mom out. But I can tell you right now that if it was broken pulling her out, I’d break the other hand to pull her out again.” Tyler’s surgery required fourteen screws and a small plate to his hand. Susan’s doctors were unable to determine the cause of her passing out.
Susan and Michael have done absolutely everything possible to help Tyler thrive in life and education. Tyler exclaimed, “My mom has saved my life dozens of times, and I was finally able to save her life.”
Ron Sandison works full time in the medical field and is a professor of theology at Destiny School of Ministry. He is an advisory board member of Autism Society Faith Initiative of Autism Society of America.Sandison has a Master of Divinity from Oral Roberts University and Charisma House is publishing his book on 4/5/16, A Concise Guide to Autism: Practical Advice. Biblical Wisdom. He has over 10,000 Scriptures memorized including 22 complete books of the New Testament. Ron and his wife, Kristen, reside in Rochester Hills, MI, with their pet rabbit, Babs, and cat, Frishma. You can contact Ron on Facebook or email him.