East Hamptonite Robert Downey Jr., once again proving that he’s a superhero on and off stage, took the time to send a message of hope to a little boy in Council Bluffs, Iowa going through a horrible medical ordeal.
On October 8, the Marvel star sent a video to Jackson Tijerina, a seven-year-old boy at College View Elementary School. In the video he said, “Jackson is that you? Hi! It’s Robert Downey Jr., but you can call me Tony. Thinking about you, and also, you know, life is challenging. And you are just the man for the job. So, lots of love.” The video ended with Downey blowing a kiss for Jackson.
Jackson was diagnosed with brain cancer in January 2016 after years of gastroenterologist visits to find a reason for his lack of growth and frequent nausea. Severe headaches landed the boy in an MRI, where a tumor was discovered.
According to Radio Iowa, Jackson had to be given chemotherapy immediately. The procedure requires a port in the patient’s chest, and his, much like Tony Stark’s, was placed right in the center, forming a special connection between Jackson and the Marvel superhero. His mother, Amy, said he’s not afraid to show off his port and strike his Iron Man pose.
Currently, Jackson receives an experimental form of oral chemotherapy from St. Jude Children’s Hospital. The effectiveness of the treatment has yet to be determined, so the family has devised a bucket list to ensure the second grader can experience everything he’s ever dreamt of doing. Top of the list, is meeting the real-life Iron Man.
Amy put out a special request on Facebook hoping someone could make his dream come true. That someone was Council Bluffs resident Sue Wheeler, who happened to have a friend in the movie industry. They got the word out to Downey, and soon after, the Tijerina family received a short video of Downey speaking to Jackson directly. “They sent it to me right away, and it was Robert Downey Jr. I was like, ‘Is this legitimate?’” Amy told The Daily Nonpareil. “[Jackson] was jumping up and down, and he was smiling from ear to ear.” Jackson and his sister replied to Downey with a video of their own, saying a big “thank you” to the Hamptons hero.