ATLANTA - Robert Hart, 12, of Flowery Branch is a fighter. Diagnosed in 2010 with acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, he's spent half his life undergoing chemotherapy and other treatments.
The treatments have taken a toll on his young body, but his mother, Kasie Hart, says he's a happy boy, even when he's in the hospital. She also says he likes to do things out of the norm, so it wasn't a complete surprise to her that he asked if he could be a stunt man for a day.
Robert and his mother are friends with Brandy Angel, a social media photographer who created the non-profit "Be The Change." Angel, who is well connected, heard Robert's request and promised to have him flying like a Superman stunt double. She reached out to SMASH Gym in Atlanta for some help. The gym is a training ground for stunt people who pitch their skills to the thriving Georgia movie industry.
Elizabeth Davidovich, who owns the gym, says she didn't think twice when asked if she could help fulfill Robert's wish.
"Without question," said Davidovich, "We were thrilled!"
She and a group of stunt people made it a day for Robert to remember. They decked him out in a Superman outfit, cape included. They showed him how to take flight using a harness and ropes. They taught him how to fight villains and send them flying across the room.
A Spiderman stunt double demonstrated the acrobats needed to bring the web slinging character to life. He learned the precision involved for a stunt person when a director yells, "Action!" Even during rehearsals, Hart kept his signature smile on his face.
His mother says he's feeling well right now and she's happy he can be a kid for a while. He recently underwent an immunology treatment all the way out in Seattle. Treatments and Chemotherapy do a number on a child's body and has landed Robert in a wheelchair at times. A recent treatment in Seattle did not work out and his family is hopeful that another trial in Philadelphia will yield better results.
Until then, he's in an "off treatment" status and his body has recovered enough for him to do some supervised physical activity.
So, Robert Hart entered the world of stunt people for a day. Brandy Angel's pictures have him superimposed flying over Atlanta. The stunt people at SMASH Gym watched Robert enjoy a memorable experience which they made happen.
At the end of the day, they were feeling like they got more out of the experience than the young superhero did.
"When someone like Robert wants to come by and says, 'I want to be just like you.' We all look at him and say, 'We all want to have your kind of strength.' To us, he's a hero," Davidiovich said.
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