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Published January 24, 2020

'Marvel's Hero Project' Recap: High-Kickin' Izzy

Izzy was born with a condition that limits her movement, but she's proven to be unstoppable and inspiring!

Marvel's Hero Project Izzy
Marvel's Hero Project: High-Kickin' Izzy. Photo credit: Disney+

Every week on Marvel's Hero Project -- streaming exclusively on Disney+ -- you will meet a new young hero making a difference in their communities and all over the world! In this episode, meet Izzy!

Izzy loves proving people wrong. Born with a condition that stiffens her joints and limits their movement, Izzy has gone on to win four world championships in taekwondo. However, her super power is not just in her extremely hard work and dedication, but in how she teaches others the sport. It’s her leadership that sets her apart as a hero, and now, she joins Marvel’s Hero Project.

It’s almost impossible to believe, but when Izzy was a baby, doctors told her parents that she’d never walk. Why is it so hard to believe a diagnosis like this? Because we find out at the very beginning of the show that Izzy is a four-time world champion in taekwondo. Izzy was diagnosed with arthrogryposis, which affects her joints. From the time she was born, she wore casts and braces, but she always found ways to move around. To this day, she still goes to physical therapy to learn skills that help her live more independently.

When watching her sister do taekwondo, Izzy said that she wanted to do that too. It took a lot of practice, but she eventually built up her endurance, her strength, and her determination to go even further; and after a year, Izzy got her black belt. “When people say I can’t do something, I try to prove them wrong,” said Izzy.

Before long, Izzy was ready to give other kids a chance to achieve their own goals. She took on a leadership role at her dojo and started teaching taekwondo to younger kids. In the meantime, she improved her own skills. She won state and district tournaments, qualifying her for the Taekwondo World Championships in 2017,  where she won all four gold medals for which she competed. And Izzy still hasn’t slowed her momentum – she stays active, plays music, and keeps moving to keep her joints from stiffening.

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At Marvel’s HQ, Marvel staffers Sana Amanat and Stephen Wacker started crafting Izzy’s comic story. With her martial arts skills, Izzy would be right at home in the Marvel Universe… but where does this hero’s tale start? Sana and Stephen turned Izzy’s laser focus into her super power, turning the bo staff she uses in her taekwondo into an extension of the power that comes from within. Another heroic aspect of Izzy’s story is her leadership and how she serves as a mentor for others. In her story, Izzy reveals her origin story while going through her daily routine. At her dojo, she sees another student struggling and uses her super power to give him the confidence to keep going.

Izzy’s initiation into Marvel’s Hero Project had to be in the proper spirit, so the presentation – and the surprise – would happen at the finish line of a triathlon. There she was met by her friend Avery, who went through physical therapy with Izzy when they were both children. With her family and friends in tow, Izzy was brought to a new location for the presentation. Her mom pulled out the Marvel envelope with Izzy’s initiation letter and read it to her. After that, Izzy opened the box to find her jacket and her very own Marvel comic, which made her gasp with surprise! “I absolutely love everything about it!”  

To show how much Izzy inspired all of us, Marvel’s Hero Project is making a donation in the amount of $10,000 to the American Association of People with Disabilities in recognition of their support for youth and young leaders with disabilities. To learn more about AAPD, visit www.aapd.com

Now is your chance to look inside the comic that was made for Izzy by real Marvel creators! Writer Brian Smith and artists J. L. Giles (pencils and inks) and Carlos Lopez (colors) worked together to shape Izzy’s entrance into Marvel Comics! You can read Izzy’s comic, HIGH-KICKIN’ IZZY #1, for free, right here!

To learn more about AAPD, visit www.aapd.com.

There are so many heroes in the real world to celebrate, and Marvel’s Hero Project is going to bring their inspiring stories to people of all ages across the globe! Tune in to Marvel’s Hero Project, streaming exclusively on Disney+, every week to learn about a new young hero making a difference in their communities and beyond!

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