Robert Downey Jr. may arguably be best known for playing a hero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but the Avengers: Infinity War star is a hero in real life as well. The Iron Man actor not only made a terminally ill young fan's dream come true, but he's also helping that young fan help others as well.
Aaron Hunter, an 8-year-old British boy with a rare syndrome called Rapid-Onset Obesity with Hypothalamic Dysfunction, Hypoventilation and Autonomic Dysregulation -- ROHHAD -- posted a video online asking to meet the Iron Man star last year. When the "#AaronNeedsIronMan" campaign went viral, Downey FaceTimed Aaron. Then, last Saturday, Downey dropped in to visit Aaron in person, documenting their visit on Twitter.
Selfie game on point! Aaron and I are devising ways we can #gomadforrohhad...Donate just $10 bux (https://t.co/ywpvrsvUm3) to win a trip to #hollywood for the #avengersinfinitywar world premiere. Proceeds benefit @Rohhad_Global and #brianortegafoundation. See you there! pic.twitter.com/wouSDCwWHG— Robert Downey Jr (@RobertDowneyJr) March 24, 2018
"Selfie game on point!" Downey captioned the photo of himself and Aaron. But Downey's heroics don't stop with simply paying a visit to a sick fan. Downey has gotten involved with Aaron's charity, ROHHAD Association. The actor's Twitter post also included a call to action for fans to donate to the charity as well as the Brian Ortega Foundation through his Random Act Funding in exchange for a chance to win a trip to the Hollywood premiere of the eagerly anticipated Avengers: Infinity War.
Downey's support of the charity isn't surprising -- the actor frequently creates opportunities for fans to get up close and personal for major Marvel events through charitable outreach -- but it is significant. ROHHAD is an extremely rare, life-threatening illness that impacts roughly 100 children worldwide meaning that a child is more likely to be struck by lightning twice than developing the condition. Due to the rareness of the condition -- for which there is currently no cure -- there is very little funding going toward research. Downey's support of the cause by asking fans to "#GoMadForROHHAD" will, hopefully, bring more attention to the need.
Of course, while Downey's support may very well lead to a brighter future for others suffering with ROHHAD, the actor's kindness has absolutely made things brighter for Aaron. The boy's mother, Lisa Hunter, thanked Downey for not just visiting, but for giving Aaron hope.
"This memory will never leave us, it has been magical," she wrote on Facebook (via BBC). "We have never seen Aaron this happy until now. His big heart is full of HOPE!"
Avengers: Infinity War premieres in theaters on April 27th.
Black Panther is now in theaters. Other upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe movies include Ant-Man and the Wasp on July 6th, Captain Marvel on March 8, 2019, the fourth Avengers movie on May 3, 2019, the sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming on July 5, 2019, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 in 2020.