Avengers assemble!

Captain America original comic

My father, Stratford Caldecott, was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer in October 2011. I wrote about what that was like at the time in a piece for Verily Magazine. Life since then has been very strange. He has bravely, patiently tried every treatment available to slow down the progress of the cancer, and we have been blessed with some good – almost normal – times together, amongst the bad.

The doctors now say that dad is into the final stages of the disease, the part where your bones fracture under the slightest impact, and swelling around vital organs starts to happen for no apparent reason. They say that we only have around 12 weeks left. We have to make these 12 weeks count, and I have an idea about how we can do that.

Superhero comic book themed party

We had a superhero themed party for dad for his 60th birthday last November – dad was Tony Stark, and wore an ‘arc reactor’ under his shirt.

Dad is a huge comic book fan; he collected them when he was young, and absolutely loves the Marvel films. Throughout his illness he has joked that he’ll hang on just so that he can see the next film release. When The Avengers came out he managed to get to the cinema to see it, and it made him so happy. This Spring he wasn’t well enough to get to the cinema to see Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and the DVD release is set for August, which will probably be too late.

We’re going to try and get in touch with Marvel to ask if they can fulfil dad’s dying wish by sending us a copy of the film for him to watch at home. But I think we can go further than that. We’re also going to tweet the Avengers actors and see if they will take a picture of themselves holding a sign saying ‘Captain America/Thor/Iron Man [insert name of character here] for Strat!’ so that we can surprise him with their messages of support and encouragement.

Superhero comic book themed party

Captain America and Thor celebrating dad’s 60th birthday.

Dad is about to face the biggest challenge of his life. Death is the greatest, most frightening adventure of them all. He is one of the good guys, worthy of superhero status himself. As Agent Coulson would say, it’s time to call for back up – let’s give him the send off he deserves.

If you have Twitter and want to get involved, please help us by tweeting this blog post to the Avengers actors, asking them to help brighten up a hero with cancer’s last days. Thank you! #CapForStrat 

118 thoughts on “Avengers assemble!

  1. M. Jordan Lichens says:

    Reblogged this on Catholic Coffee Drinkers and commented:
    I’m reblogging this in toto. Stratford Caldecott was one of the first academic heroes I got to meet. Heck, we saw The Dark Knight together. So, do this for him and his lovely family and all Catholic comic geeks out there.

  2. The London Creature says:

    Hi Sophie, I work with your Dad in CTS. Just want to say he’s a huge inspiration to me – certainly worthy of superhero status – and I love that you’re doing this for him.
    Not a massive Twitter user but if I can remember my password, I’ll be joining the tweet brigade and will be supporting however I can!

  3. Christopher Markus says:

    Hi Sophie,

    This is Christopher Markus. I’m one of the writers of the Captain America films. Your dad’s situation was brought to my attention by Amanda Lewin, who’s an old friend of my wife. I think we can help. Can you send me your address and contact details?

    • Sophie Caldecott says:

      Hi Christopher, thank you so much for getting in touch! Amanda just asked for his contact details, so I think she’s sent them on to you guys, but let me know if you still need them. I don’t really know how to thank you enough for taking the time to look into helping us…

  4. Tracey says:

    Sophie, I am sooo happy for you that MARVEL stepped up and did this for your dad. It is an amazing tribute. As a surviving family member my heart goes out to you and your family. Stay strong, stay positive and always remember to say I love you.

  5. shira ghertner says:

    Sophie, i’m so happy that Marvel went with this thing. This thing looks really Awesome. I hope your father will get better. All the best wishes to you and to your family.
    🙂 #capforstrat

  6. singlehandedknits says:

    Reblogged this on SingleHandedKnits and commented:
    This is worth reading and sharing and others to read and share… And after reading to thankfully hug this in your life who have today with you…

  7. Kylie Sturgess says:

    Robert Downey Jr ‏- Thor and Iron Man got your back, Strat. #CapForStrat pic.twitter.com/hNp033KOSe

    Well done!!! And all the best to your family.

  8. Kari says:

    Sending prayers to you, your dad, and your family!!! The hardest part if your journey is beginning…

    Joshua 1:8

  9. Celian Chan says:

    Reblogged this on ss10cshc and commented:
    Love this very touching story behind the famous #CapforStrat, guys please spread the words around – it is so scary on dealing with death and this man need support before taking his steps…

  10. Wendy says:

    I hope this helps him and your family. What a send off party!! Hugs to you for getting it started and kudos to them for being awesome people to send a shout out.

  11. Dave Warner says:

    I landed here as a result of #capforstrat. Prayers to you all – my Dad had terminal prostate cancer several years ago. It is indeed a hard journey. Having never heard of Stratford’s work before, headed over to Amazon. Immediately bought “Not as the World Sees…”

    • Dave Warner says:

      Sorry, got the title wrong – “Not as the World Gives…” which makes more sense given the subject matter. God Bless.

  12. Cynthia Haven says:


    I’m so very sorry to hear about the progression of your father’s illness. I don’t know if he remembers me; we spoke in his Oxford office about five years ago, after an introduction via our mutual friends James and London Tyndale-Biscoe. Please give him my very best greetings and best wishes. Sending you and your family every possible hope and prayer from the Pacific.


  13. guy haggard says:

    Sorry to hear about your cancer. My prostate cancer is in remission at the moment.
    I will be going to Comic-Con in Detroit this weekend and you will be in my thoughts and prayers.
    In my book you are already a super hero

    I salute everyone in the marvel universe who stepped up. Have a fantastic day

    • Kari says:

      We all cringe at the word cancer, and once it enters your family you realise how hard it is in yourself and everyone else… I lost my father nearly 30 years ago, and even now I am still affected by it…

      This is where your journey truly begins, capturing all the memories you can and all the precious moments you will treasure for the rest of your life..

      May God continue to bless you and your family…I will continue to send prayers and Love

      • Kari says:

        Sophie, I will always listen when you need someone non related to talk to. I’ve got 40 years under my belt, and I do understand the emotional side of this…I was 17…

        As of now, I would love to be hanging out with you and your dad!!! I would love to be there watching his face seeing all the responses and comments and virtual hugs he is getting!!!

        My favourite memory of my dad while he had cancer was him taking me to school, and hugging him in front of my school matrd and the shocked looks they gave me(apparently cancer was contagious in 1983)!!!

        Never give up hope, stay strong and Marvel on!!!

        Strat, I wish you all the best, lots of hugs, dancing and love…God bless you and your family!!!

        Sending you much love, prayers and hugs!!!

        Joshua 1:9

    • Sophie Caldecott says:

      Hi, thanks for writing – we have actually tried a lot of dietary things over the past few years, but unfortunately dad’s cancer didn’t show up in his blood tests till it was too late and had already spread too far, so nothing like that can have much of an impact. We’d really like everyone to be aware of the symptoms of prostate cancer so that even if your blood tests show up okay but you have the other symptoms, you can get it checked out more carefully and catch it early on: http://uk.movember.com/mens-health/prostate-cancer
      All the best to you!

  14. Andrea says:

    Hi, I just read this story about your dads
    illness and it made me really sad.

    My grandma had cancer too and she was “lucky”
    that she didn’t need chemo. A surgery was enough to
    “cure” her. My family and I did some research since
    that time. And we found that article about this man
    named Vernon Johnston who in 2008 was diagnosed with
    class IV Aggressive Prostate cancer that spread to the
    bones and he healed himself within 10 days (!) by simply
    drinking a mixture of (aluminum free) backing soda & molasses
    a few times a day. My grandma drinks it once a day and her cancer
    didn’t show up again (it’s 4 years later now and she is still fine). (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yl8Y8I_TsjI)

    If you like, you can read the full story of Vernons
    self-treatment (http://phkillscancer.com/protocol)
    and the success stories of others who tried the same and got healthy (http://phkillscancer.com/cancer-success-stories-from-others-some-links)

    Also very interesting video: (Cancer – The Forbidden Cures)

    I don’t know if it could help your dad, but I just felt the need
    to share that story with you.

    All the best for you and your family during such a hard & painful time.

    • Sophie Caldecott says:

      Hi there, thanks – I’m afraid that dad’s cancer is very very advanced (the doctors say it is in the very last stages) and I don’t think anything like this could do anything for him. But it was kind of you to think of it and to want to share your experience. All the best to you and your family!

      • Andrea says:

        I understand and respect your decision not to believe it could work and not to try it, I just thought, that if I had everything to lose, I would give it a try (10 days were enough for Vernons very advanced cancer to cure). Even though it doesn’t hurt, it’s just about getting the body alkaline so that the cancer can’t survive. ’cause Cancer can only live in an acidic environment. And about the advanced-ness, that’s exactly what the doctors told that man (Vernon) too. His cancer was so advanced (class IV Aggressive Prostate cancer that spread to the
        bones) that they didn’t even want to treat thim. ..Doctors in the USA aren’t allowed to say that any alternative method could possibly help against cancer but there are so many of them (as you can also learn from the youtube video: Cancer – The Forbidden Cures). They have to say that there is no way but chemo, otherwise they lose their permission as a doctor and that is why they would say that e.g. Vernons method can’t work. Sadly, Americans aren’t free to choose their cancer treatment. Again, all the best for you and your family!

  15. Kim Kouski says:

    I’m so sorry about your dad, but I”m so glad the Avengers have taken on his cause. God bless you and I”ll keep you in my prayers.

  16. vikinggirlji says:

    Sofie, Very sorry to hear about your dad. I found this article and had to come here to post it for you. You and your dad have made it to E! news online. I think it if fabulous the support your dad is getting from Marvel and the Avenger cast. All the best for your dad and your family. Janet


  17. Rorybore says:

    I’ve been retweeting the selfie pics that the cast does and filling my Tumblr dash too! Really hope Marvel comes through for your dad!
    So heart warming to see that we can believe in heroes after all. 🙂

    • Sophie Caldecott says:

      Thank you so much! Yes, Marvel responded on Wednesday and are organising something for dad. I would never have been able to get their attention by myself, I’m just so lucky that a whole bunch of awesome people around the world decided to take up my cause and help me get the message through. Real life heroes indeed!x

  18. Java Girl says:

    He’s lucky to have a daughter like you. What you are doing is so sweet, loving and genuine. I know what you are going through, because I’ve gone through it myself as a daughter. Keeping you and your family in my heart, thoughts and prayers. 🙂

    • Sophie Caldecott says:

      Thank you for your kind thoughts and words. I hope that you can feel in a very real way that all of this love that people are showing is reaching out to you, too. None of us are truly alone, if we can be open to the kindness of strangers. Hugs!

  19. Michael K. says:

    Hello Sophie,

    I just saw the link to your blog and the Avengers story on the New Advent website. I had corresponded with your dad over the last decade about theology and Valentin Tomberg. He’s the only Catholic theologian I know who has paid attention to the Meditation on the Tarot book. I have been praying daily for the intercession of Cora Evans on his behalf for the last 2 months… ever since his own blog went silent. This is not over yet. Please give him my best and assure him of my prayers.


  20. Lena says:

    Amazing story! The saddest of situations yet it brings about an amazing experience for your Dad and your family. It turns out that the biggest superhero in his life was you! Strength and hugs to all x

  21. mosleslie says:

    Reblogged this on MosLeslieCantina and commented:
    Lewis, Tolkein & Madeleine L’Engle all lauded “myth” as the revealer of greater Truth, not myth as escape and certainly not myth as falsehood or lie. How beautiful to see the world of fandom & story, the world of the Avenger Myth bringing encouragement to a sick father because his child loves him enough to call for the Avengers.

    Tweet #CapForStrat – because we’re assembled! And we’d cure you if we could.

  22. Gehrig Tan says:

    l’m sorry seem so long just find out this post, but l wish your dad is all right now and still healthy at this moment. You got all those superhero supported wish it work!!

  23. Rob says:

    Hi, I work with a Professional Charitable Character Actor Organisation called The Novare Alliance and for the London Film Comic Con 2014 we will be looking at doing the Avengers and we would love to show our support by doing a short video or photos to show our support. We think your blog is amazing and what you are doing for your father is even more so. If there is anything we can do to help, please feel free to contact us 🙂

    Best regards,
    Founder, Treasurer and Event Co-Ordinator
    Novare Alliance

  24. shewhisperswords says:

    In tears, congratulations on being able to do that for him and all my love and support to you all in this time of need. I cannot imagine what you’re all dealing with and wanted you to know you’ll be in my heart.

  25. Robin says:

    Wonderful story, just amazing. I’m so sorry your family, especially your dad of course, is going through this, but what an inspired idea on your part, and what an incredible response. Best wishes to all of you.

  26. Sarah Whitton says:

    Hi Sophie, my daughter is Gracie Whitton (@graciewhitton) and we would love to help. We will tweet out this evening!! I will see if her friends will do the same! Sending prayers for healing and love!

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