Juan's super power

Disabling change in son's life leaves legacy that can save others

Comic books have long fantasized about freak accidents giving people super powers.

 

Juan Boatwright proved it can happen. After a day-care accident left him disabled in 2001, he became a superhero.

The former area youngster – who was 14 months old when he stumbled head-first into a bleach-and-water-filled mop bucket at a Hephzibah day care – inspired his mother, Jackie, to change the world.

Together, they managed to convince lawmakers in both Georgia and Virginia to pass laws requiring day care providers to inform parents if they do not have liability insurance.

Juan’s day care did not – and, at that point, wasn’t required to.

“Juan’s Law” may save a life, or save a family the added tragedy of a financial crisis should an accident occur.

This is a special power.

Little Anthony DeJuan Boatwright already had a very meaningful life. He was very loved, and, in his mother’s words, “was a pure joy to be around.” But their combined efforts to make the world safer for other toddlers has given his life ultimate meaning: His suffering, rather than paralyzing and embittering him and his loved ones, was turned into the
triumph of helping others. And that is arguably life’s highest achievement.

It’s a super power.

Juan died Sunday at age 11 at their DeKalb County home. A service is scheduled for 11 a.m. today at Paine College chapel, with a viewing beginning at 10:15.

Anthony DeJuan Boatwright never got a chance to do what most kids do while growing up. Play Little League baseball. Go swimming. Or just run free in a field. But he leaves a legacy that will likely allow other children to do all that and more.

Jackie Boatwright will carry on, with continued efforts to convince Congress it should pass Juan’s Law nationally.

This is not overregulation or a burdensome mandate on small businesses. It’s simple enough but as empowering as it gets: Just tell parents whether you have liability insurance or not. It gives them the power to walk away and choose another option. It gives them the knowledge that might save their child.

It’s handing down Juan’s super power.

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