More

A terminally ill boy needed Iron Man's help. He got that and more.

The real-life Avenger didn't let this young fan down.

A terminally ill boy needed Iron Man's help. He got that and more.

Back in January 2017, Aaron Hunter sent a message out into the world, calling on social media to help him reach Iron Man himself, Robert Downey Jr.

"My name is Aaron Hunter, and I need to speak to Iron Man," he says in the video, surrounded by Avengers memorabilia. "Iron Man, if you see this, I really, really need your help."

Aaron goes on to explain that he has a rare disease called rapid-onset obesity with hypothalamic dysregulation, hypoventilation, and autonomic dysregulation (ROHHAD). "Some of my friends with ROHHAD have died. I don't want any more of my friends to die," he says, calling on Iron Man to help him raise money and awareness for ROHHAD.


A few months later, Aaron spoke to Downey over FaceTime, calling it "the best day of [his] life."

Fast forward to March 2018 when Aaron met his hero in person — and that's not all.

Downey posted a photo with Aaron to his social media accounts on March 24.

"This memory will never leave us, it has been magical," Aaron's mom, Lisa Hunter, wrote on Facebook. "We have never seen Aaron this happy until now. His Big Heart is full of HOPE and the best is yet to come with the help this will bring all of the children fighting ROHHAD as Robert fulfills Aarons wish in full."

Downey's charitable foundation, Random Act Funding, is giving away a trip to the "Avengers: Infinity War" premiere. The money raised will go to the ROHHAD Association.

He posted a video to Twitter, explaining the contest in more detail.

A little boy needed a hero. Thanks to social media and the kindness of Robert Downey Jr., he got one.

"This all began because of Aaron's determination to help save all of his friends around the world and his unwavering belief that Iron Man (Robert) would help him to do that," Lisa Hunter continued in her Facebook post. "Aaron's selfless love and compassion was our inspiration. He kept us going and we knew we had to do all we could to reach the real Iron Man for him."

GIF from "Avengers: Infinity War."

"Aaron we are so proud of you, your huge heart, your determination, your selflessness and belief that the world is full of heroes who will want to help your special friends. We love you more than we could ever put into words.

"This would never have happened though without so many Incredible people who seen what we see in Aaron and helped us reach Robert, you all know who you are and we are happy to share that Robert sees how big Aaron's heart is too and they have a mutual love and respect for one another."

To learn more about ROHHAD, visit the ROHHAD Association website. There, you can donate to help support new treatments and search for the cure.

True

Anne Hebert, a marketing writer living in Austin, TX, jokes that her closest friends think that her hobby is "low-key harassment for social good". She authors a website devoted entirely to People Doing Good Things. She's hosted a yearly canned food drive with up to 150 people stopping by to donate, resulting in hundreds of pounds of donations to take to the food bank for the past decade.

"I try to share info in a positive way that gives people hope and makes them aware of solutions or things they can do to try to make the world a little better," she said.

For now, she's encouraging people through a barrage of persistent, informative, and entertaining emails with one goal in mind: getting people to VOTE. The thing about emailing people and talking about politics, according to Hebert, is to catch their attention—which is how lice got involved.

"When my kids were in elementary school, I was class parent for a year, which meant I had to send the emails to the other parents. As I've learned over the years, a good intro will trick your audience into reading the rest of the email. In fact, another parent told me that my emails always stood out, especially the one that started: 'We need volunteers for the Valentine's Party...oh, and LICE.'"

Hebert isn't working with a specific organization. She is simply trying to motivate others to find ways to plug in to help get out the vote.

Photo by Phillip Goldsberry on Unsplash

Keep Reading Show less

Empathy. Compassion. Heart-to-heart human connection. These qualities of leadership may not be flashy or loud, but they speak volumes when we see them in action.

A clip of Joe Biden is going viral because it reminds us what that kind of leadership looks like. The video shows a key moment at a memorial service for Chris Hixon, the athletic director at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida in 2018. Hixon had attempted to disarm the gunman who went on a shooting spree at the school, killing 17 people—including Hixon—and injuring 17 more.

Biden asked who Hixon's parents were as the clip begins, and is directed to his right. Hixon's wife introduces herself, and Biden says, "God love you." As he starts to walk away, a voice off-camera says something and Biden immediately turns around. The voice came from Hixon's son, Corey, and the moments that followed are what have people feeling all their feelings.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
True

Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

Keep Reading Show less
via Witty Buttons / Twitter

Back in 2017, when white supremacist Richard Spencer was socked in the face by someone wearing all black at Trump's inauguration, it launched an online debate, "Is it OK to punch a Nazi?"

The essential nature of the debate was whether it was acceptable for people to act violently towards someone with repugnant reviews, even if they were being peaceful. Some suggested people should confront them peacefully by engaging in a debate or at least make them feel uncomfortable being Nazi in public.

Keep Reading Show less

The English language is constantly evolving, and the faster the world changes, the faster our vocabulary changes. Some of us grew up in an age when a "wireless router" would have been assumed to be a power tool, not a way to get your laptop (which wasn't a thing when I was a kid) connected to the internet (which also wasn't a thing when I was a kid, at least not in people's homes).

It's interesting to step back and look at how much has changed just in our own lifetimes, which is why Merriam-Webster's Time Traveler tool is so fun to play with. All you do is choose a year, and it tells you what words first appeared in print that year.

For my birth year, the words "adult-onset diabetes," "playdate," and "ATM" showed up in print for the first time, and yes, that makes me feel ridiculously old.

It's also fun to plug in the years of different people's births to see how their generational differences might impact their perspectives. For example, let's take the birth years of the oldest and youngest members of Congress:

Keep Reading Show less