Girl, 9, sees 'Spider-Man' with her real-life hero

Girl, 9, sees 'Spider-Man' with her real-life hero
Posted at 10:35 AM, Jul 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-07 06:45:29-04

SACRAMENTO, CA (KMAX/KOVR/CNN) - He may not shoot real webs or fly, but Tony Marsella is a real hero to 9-year-old Abigail Westlund.

Westlund and Marsella met at Shriner's hospital when she was undergoing her second surgery for congenital scoliosis. Since then, she's undergone 12 operations.

Marsella visits patients at the hospital because he used to be one. At age 15, he had an autoimmune disorder that doctors struggle to diagnose. He eventually recovered and vowed to make a difference.

"It's really encouraging meeting people like Abigail that, even though they're going through these things and have so much passion and happiness, that is actually makes me happy to come see you," Marsella said. I'm so happy she's able to come here and not in the hospital."

Marsella called Abigail to come to "Spider-Man: Homecoming" with him. He donned the web-crawler's suit while she opted for a T-shirt featuring Spidey's likeness.

"When she found out about this, she literally bounced off the walls," Abigail's mother said. "'I'm webbing mom. 'I'm webbing my way to bed.'"

While they met under unusual circumstances, the friends have formed a bond to use their super hero strength to fight off whatever villains they encounter.

Copyright 2017 KMAX/KOVR via CNN. All rights reserved.