Sunday, April 12, 2009

Spinelli Fans Come in All Shapes and Sizes

Remember when I wrote that at the Chicago event Bradford interacted with a little boy named Ari and it was just the most adorable thing ever? Well, Ari's mom Lisa wrote a wonderful piece to share with you guys about her son, the experience with meeting Bradford in Chicago, and why they both connect with Spinelli.

It is a very interesting read and makes you think more about the significance of the character Bradford portrays on GH everyday. I hope General Hospital understands the weight and gravity they have in Spinelli, and if they do not, perhaps this can be an eye opener:

We would like to thank all of the wonderful people that we met at Zanies. It MADE our experience so special that you could not believe it. My name is Lisa and my son, Ari, is a very intelligent boy with autism spectrum disorder. He is in love with Spinelli and watches General Hospital on a routine basis. He finds Spinelli to be similar to himself. He is very sweet, thoughtful, intelligent, and funny.

Yet like Spinelli, he is trying to figure out what life is all about and how to fit in. Spinelli is a hero to a lot of children and teens with autism. He is able to function with really cool people like Jason, and have a group of very caring friends such as Sam or Maxie. Oh yes, not forget Maxie.....every child's dream is to have a relationship. But when children are born without these skills and have to be taught socialization skills...It can be very draining on them.

Poor Ari had a horrible year at school. He had several teachers at school who made his life miserable. They were unwilling to work with him or accept him because he was different. My little sweet boy had a serious regression which was very scary. We took him to the emergency room because he was shaking so much. We were afraid that he was having seizures. Instead it turned out to be stress from school.

This has been a very bad year for us and hope that Ari will be placed into a new school in the near future. He has been suffering because he has friends at his current school, but a school staff that is unwilling to accept him. When I read that "Spinelli" was coming to Chicago, I called Zanies and they were wonderful. I kept telling Ari that he had a big surprise. When we arrived at Zanies, we were met by some of the most wonderful people. It felt like being with family.

During the hard months, Ari sought comfort watching General Hospital on Tivo and fast forwarding to Spinelli. He loved going on Youtube and playing video clips of the Jackal. So, you could only imagine this rare opportunity of meeting someone that means everything to you. It was like meeting President Obama. Bradford was sooo amazing with Ari. I took some pictures and videotaped them. We can not thank all of you enough for your kindness and warmth that you showed us. We feel like we found some new friends and will always cherish this perfect memory. Since meeting his hero Spinelli, Ari is a lot am I!

Much love to all of you...

----Lisa and Ari. ( My little Spinelli)

Thank you so much, Lisa, for sharing your powerful story with us! Ari was precious. I'll never forget how he said "I'm Jason, Spinelli!" to Bradford. It was a highlight of the event. Good luck to both you and Ari!


Penny said...

ahh that was so power. I think at times we forget children watch GH. Ari seems like such a sweet boy and his mother seems pretty special too

Holly (supersoapfans) said...

That is precious! Is there a video posted of Ari meeting Bradford? I'd love to see it. I can sure vouch for kids loving Spinelli. My 8 year old daughter is also a Spinelli fan!

Gary said...

Thanks so much. I can't tell you how many times I've made this point on certain message boards or forum/blogs. I believe Bradford and his portrayal of Damian Spinelli has the widest range fan base there is. These words only confirm that belief.

PS. Sometimes people think the only thing that matters is the part of a fan base that comes from horny teen girls on the internet. That's just not the case.

spikey said...

Thanks so much for sharing this moving story.

I know from helping with his fandom, that so many people have mentioned that Spinelli has touched people with autism, members of their families or those who just felt like they don't fit for some reason or another.

Although BA has his share of adoring fangurls, I agree with what Gary said..

goaliemom1104 said...

Watching Bradford take his time with Ari at the PA was probably the most memorable part of the whole experience for me. At times I think we forget the universal appeal of a character like Spinelli. He is rootable and identifiable, and I do believe that is why his innate ability to understand and forgive will/should always be part of Spinelli's nature.

Even today when we saw dark glimpses into Spinelli's soul as he was so hurt by Maxie and Johnny, he was still able to wish the best for her despite his own feelings.

Thanks so much for sharing Ari's story with us. I still remember him sitting beside Bradford and saying, "I'm Jason, Spinelli." It just made my day!

Gary said...

Somebody should send this letter to TPTB and suggest a storyline for Spinelli with this subject. I could easily see Spin(even as a single guy) adopting a kid like this and the story just grows from there. Something similar to that anyways. Maybe it could just be a Big Brother type situation? I think Bradford's natural sense for caring about people and his great acting ability could make it one of General Hospital's greatest stories ever told.