For most children, being born with a combination of Spina Bifida and hydrocephalus, two life-compromising medical conditions, would be limiting.
For Emily White, it was — in some ways — only a chance to dream bigger.
That's because her father, Dan White, decided to channel his thoughts about her condition into something meaningful: a work of art. That work: a comic called "The Department of Ability," which tells the story of a wheelchair-bound superhero whose powers came from her disability.
White said the the idea was inspired by a "lack of good fun and positive visibility" about disabled children in mainstream television.
"The project began when Emily, my daughter, was 3, and now she's 9," he told TODAY.com in a phone interview. "We searched and searched, and we just couldn't find anything in entertainment industry that related to her. So I decided to create it."
The project has since evolved over the course of a few years, and gradually received more and more international attention from disabled or otherwise under-represented communities. A few years ago, White decided he could no longer perform both the promotional and creative duties related to the comic and work full-time. He is now devoted solely to the creation and dissemination of the comic, which is "70 percent complete," as well as giving lectures at local organizations on life with a disabled child.
The good news? An agent's now on his side, which means the Department of Ability could see the light of day sooner than White had originally thought.
"[The agent] is going to the London Book Fair soon, heavily armed with everything I've given her," he said. "All the illustrations and stories. She's determined to win a mainstream deal for us."
In the end, though, this is about far more than just a comic book.
"The disabled community is so dear to me, and I want to see them represented in a more positive light," said White. "Emily is so much more than her wheelchair. She loves sports, arts, comics, music and more. She's a force to be reckoned with."
White hopes that his comic will instill a sense of confidence in disabled children around the world who, like Emily, are so much more than just "disabled."
"The best way to do that is through comics and superheroes, I think," he concluded. "Because they're brilliant and unlimited. Just like these kids."