Seb Hollingsworth: Heart surgery teen invited to Marvel Studios after Ryan Reynolds confidence boost

Seb also received a bag of gifts from the studios, including a new Marvel-branded hat. Credit: Ivan Hollingsworth/Twitter

A Tyneside teenager with a heart condition said he was "buzzing" after receiving an exclusive invitation to Marvel Studios in London.

Seb Hollingsworth, 13, was sent a personal letter and Marvel Universe merchandise after the production company heard about his story.

Seb was just over three months old when he underwent life-saving open heart surgery at the Newcastle's Freeman Hospital.

Since then, his parents Ivan and Nadine Hollingsworth have fundraised for the Children's Heart Unit to help other children with heart defects.

Now a teenager, Seb recently had open heart surgery to improve his heart function and was shocked when Hollywood actor and Marvel's Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds sent him a personal message after dad Mr Hollingsworth made on appeal on Twitter.

This was followed up by a letter from Marvel Studios, which read: "Always remember to stay strong and never let a visit to the hospital get you down.

"These experiences will make you stronger as a person, like one of our own heroes.

"Remember, as Thor Odinson once said... 'I choose to run towards my problems, not away from them. Because that's what heroes do'."

It went on to invite Seb to its London studio to "watch some filming" once they are able to have visitors.

The package included various presents including a Doctor Strange figurine and a Lego Black Widow helicopter.

Mr Hollingsworth is chair of the Children’s Heart Unit Fund, a charity which funds equipment, research and aftercare for the Freeman Hospital unit.

He told ITV News Tyne Tees that since receiving Ryan Reynolds' letter, Seb had become less self-conscious about his scar, and he hoped to spread the message to other children who have undergone surgery.

"The emotional adjustment to having a big scar down your chest, the emotional hurdles to overcome must not be underestimated," he said.

"What we’re trying to do at the charity is support teenagers like Seb and find out how we can support them to feel proud of their scars.

"If Ryan Reynolds says 'your scar is street cred', you don’t go to school feeling like you’re less than, like you're different."

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