Behind the mask: WV Batman says he has a similar story to Braxton County three-year-old boy who died-now inspiring others through his children’s book

Published: Feb. 8, 2021 at 8:31 PM EST
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GASSAWAY, W.Va (WDTV) - John Buckland, or many know him as West Virginia’s very own Batman, attended three-year-old, Kyran’s funeral on Monday in Braxton County.

According to police, abuse led to Kyran’s death and that was something Buckland said he also experienced.

“I went through physical and sexual child abuse as a kid,” Buckland said. “I went through bullying, I went through not really fitting in, I went through the brokenness, and later on in life I went through the drug addiction, depression all of those things,” he said.

However, he eventually decided to save himself and be his own superhero.

As Batman with the Heroes 4 Higher Foundation, Buckland spreads hope for healing to children and families, and now he is also spreading awareness through his very own book called Broken Toy Hero.

“The book is rooted in my own suffering, so the stories of these characters are a piece of my life,” Buckland said.

The piece of his life is still seen today amongst children, and even more so now during the pandemic. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in seven children have experienced child abuse or neglect in the past year and one in four have experienced it in their lifetime.

That’s why Buckland knew he wanted to bring positivity to homes through his main character, a toy named Phoenix, who walks through many difficult situations children face daily, but Phoenix also shares how to overcome it.

In the end, readers will learn ‘The 4 Steps To Greatness’; teaching empathy, self-esteem, leadership, respect and overcoming tough times.

“This book is designed to be an instrument to empower and inspire kids and people of all backgrounds,” Buckland said. “They too can take the pain in their lives and repurpose it to become powerful.”

Beyond inspiring kids, he hopes this will speak to adults as well.

“It’s also to empower grownups to open up and listen and pay attention to the struggles of our kids,” Buckland said.

He hopes Broken Toy Hero will overall create better opportunities for children and will lessen the chances of a tragic incident to occur, like what Kyran faced.

“We can all realize that in the story of Phoenix, a surviving victim of abuse will be able to carry the story on for Kyran, that Kyran is not able to carry on himself,” Buckland said.

You can contact the publisher of Broken Toy Hero or learn more about the book at Barnes & Noble.

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