Local Spiderman fundraising for Durham 12-year-old with brain cancer

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DURHAM (WTVD) -- He dresses up as Spiderman to help bring a smile to children with life-threatening illnesses, and now he's trying to help fundraise for a local 12-year-old boy with brain cancer.

Rick Schafferman is the man behind the Spidey suit and he's hoping for a big turn-out Saturday, for a fundraiser to help pay Howell Brown's cancer-treatment bills.

The local Spiderman is partnering with a comic book store in Rocky Mount, called Arkham Comix, for the event, and 10 percent of the sales are going to Howell's cause. Prizes and pictures with costumed superheroes, including 'Raleighman', are all part of the fun.

Click here to see more fundraiser event info.

It's all part of a group Schafferman founded called The Excelsior League, a group dedicated to "improving the quality of life with pure heart and cosplay."

Watch Spiderman and the owner of Arkham Comix talk about why they're trying to help
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Spiderman and the owner of Arkham Comix talk about why they're trying to help.

Howell has been battling medulloblastoma, or brain cancer since 2012.

Kristin Schroeder, a pediatric neuro-oncologist at Duke University Hospital and one of Howell's doctors, said medulloblastoma is a common type of brain cancer with an 80 percent cure rate.

Check out the Go Fund me for Howell Brown here.

"There are new treatments that are coming out every year it seems, there are new options for it," Schroeder said. "Despite that, because of the location, it is something that can spread and when it does spread, it is something that tends to spread from the brain down through the spinal cord."

Schroeder said this is what happened in Howell's case.

Howell had an operation to remove the tumor in his brain, but the cancer came back, and it is Stage 4 -- the last stage.

"It's just been me and my mom and then I was doing real good," Howell said. "I was cancer-free, they removed the tumor with a big surgery, and then it came back on my spine, so me and my mom has been dealing with this. That's what we're doing right now."

Howell's mom, Sue Brown, is a single mom and she said dealing with Howell's cancer battle has been difficult all the way around.

Brown said their family had to relocate to Durham from Clyde, a small town west of Ashville, to seek treatment at Duke. She said the community has made all the difference.

"We've been through a lot, a lot of highs and lows and with the Duke family, we've made it through with everything," Brown said.

"It's such a wonderful community. Howell and I are wrapped around a lot of people that love us and so we're thankful for that," she added.

Watch Howell and his mom talk about his battle with cancer
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Watch 12-year-old Howell talk about his battle with cancer.

While Schafferman and his band of super friends and local business owners are holding a fundraiser Saturday to help Howell with his medical bills, Howell is after funding of another sort, himself.

The recent elementary school graduate wants to get a message across to Vice President Biden to increase new research funding for pediatric cancer, so that other children might have more of a fighting chance.

"Well most of the money is going to the adults' cancer fund, so we need to get more cancer fund to the children because the children need it too," Howell said.

Schroeder, Howell's doctor, said she's amazed by his strength through it all.

"He's had setbacks along the way where he's lost the ability to walk, Schroeder said. "Over the last year, he's made incredible strides so much so that when he came to clinic last week he walked in here to see me and that was probably the greatest thing of the clinic visit, was to see him walk in, because he fights back all the time and continues to do so."

Watch Dr. Schroeder describe Howell's will to fight
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Watch Dr. Kristin Schroeder describe Howell's will to fight.

The fundraiser for Howell is Saturday, July 30 from noon to 5 p.m. Arkham Comix at 3010 Sunset Ave., Rocky Mount, NC 27804.

RELATED: Superheroes swoop in to cheer up terminal child at Duke Children's Hospital

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