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Xavier Valero, 12, is a young man of few words. When asked how he will feel dressed up as his favorite Star Wars character, Darth Vader, he had one simple response: "Amazing!"
Xavier is in a wheelchair. His mother, Erica Espino, says, at 5-years-old, Xavier was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a progressive disease that causes muscle degeneration and weakness.
But on Sunday at the annual StocktonCon, Xavier will be transformed with a uniquely-designed costume featuring the Star Wars villain.
"I think he chose him because he thinks he's undefeated. And, he believes he's undefeated," said Espino.
Since April, Cory Hunt of Stockton has worked on Xavier's costume from scratch in his garage. Hunt is an Oakland Police officer by day and Star Wars nut all the time. He is creating his unique design on behalf of the non-profit Magic Wheelchair, which creates costumes for kids in wheelchairs at no cost to families. This is the second costume Hunt has created for a child.
"We get to take a kid who is in a wheelchair and ask him what he wants to be for Halloween. And we get to build an epic costume that encapsulates the wheelchair or incorporates the wheelchair," Hunt said.
For more information, go to www.magicwheelchair.org.
StocktonCon 2018 takes place Saturday and Sunday at the Stockton Arena.
Go to Stocktonlive.com or or call 209-373-1400 for general information.
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12 year-old Xavier Valero is a young man of few words.
"Amazing," said Valero.
That's how he says he'll feel once dressed-up as Star Wars villain Darth Vader this weekend.
"I think he chose him because he thinks he's undefeated. And, he believes he's undefeated," said Erica Espino, Xavier's mother.
Xavier was diagnosed at 5 with the muscle weakening disorder called Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.
Enter, Cory Hunt.
He's a police officer by night, Star Wars nut and evil character guy every-so-often by day.
"We asked him what he wanted to do, what he wanted to be and he says he wants to be Darth Vader. So, I said that's awesome because he's one of my favorite characters in Star Wars."
So, since April, Hunt's Stockton garage has been transformed into a workshop to design a one of a kind Darth Vader wheelchair costume.
Last year, Hunt made a Supergirl costume for a girl at San Diego's famed ComicCon as a volunteer for the non-profit Magic Wheelchair organization.
"By putting a costume around the wheelchair it makes the people look at you differently. And, when you see people looking at you differently, I think you feel differently," said Hunt.
Hunt also created an exploding "Death Star" on a pole that will go on the back of the costume.
It took him 12 hours to make.
"So when I plug it back in, it just goes again. And, you can actually change the programming with your phone," added Hunt.
Even his daughter Eliza helped with the costume design.
But for now it's all under wraps and will remain that way til Sunday.
That's when "The Force" will be with Xavier and all around him, too, thanks to an ordinary guy with a will to become a super hero because he cares.