The Make a Wish Foundation is an institution that needs little introduction. Founded in the 1980s, this non-profit out of Phoenix, Arizona helps to bring joy toward youths suffering from critical illnesses by assisting them in fulfilling a dream. These usually can be trips to distant places, meet and greets with celebrities, or sometimes simple and interesting such as wanting to ride the whole New York subway line and collect model trains along the way.
The furry fandom found themselves blessed by one such eccentric wish maker who decided to use her wish to go to Anthrocon in Pittsburgh on its returning year of 2022. Shrimp, a young furry fan who suffers from cystic fibrosis, joined the furs during the festivities as her wish. Like most of the furry youth, most of her content can be found through Tiktok.
With permission from their parents, Shrimp was able to answer questions in regards to her experiences at one of the largest furry conventions in the world. As a bonus, an interview with the parents is also provided in the margin.
Picking up from where the 2020 documentary The Fandom left off, Ash "Coyote" Kreis' new 44-minute film, Hero: A Furry Story takes a deeper look into the fandom's disability community, particularly its less-looked-at subset with cancer and chronic illness, where people have found that fursuiting and its networks can create a source of happiness during a time of pain and illness. Hero is the film's star, a canine-identifying fan, diagnosed with cancer at age 22, who receives a new fursuit from the talent at Waggery Costumes.
As viewers are slowly introduced to all of the different people it takes to make a fursuit, Hero's story demonstrates what furry fans have already come to know: affirming that people in the fandom can be as family, loved ones, and mentors. Pulling itself away from the criticism that Kreis received after The Fandom, this new film's attention to disability, illness, and networked connections provides another interesting gateway into something that will surely be enjoyed by fans and non-fans alike.