When the Avengers Assemble call was sent out by the daughter of a cancer patient who has just weeks to live, the Hollywood stars of the hit movie were quick to respond.
Sophie Caldecott has been harnessing the power of social media to help fulfill the dying wish of her father and superhero fan Stratford, who is in the final weeks of terminal prostate cancer. The 60-year-old, who has collected comics since he was a little boy, now has back up from Thor, Captain America, Iron Man and the Hulk, thanks to a successful Twitter campaign.
As well as getting a response from the star of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the cast of other films – including Robert Downey Jr and Samuel L Jackson from the Avengers and members of Agents of SHIELD – assembled to help Ms Caldecott give her father a unique send off.
At first Ms Caldecott, who lives in Oxford, England, with her American husband Greg, and their baby, had just planned to ask Marvel to send the family an advance copy. With that mission accomplished, thanks to the studio arranging a special screening, she decided to take matters one step further, and started tweeting the celebrity cast to see if they would take selfies and send them to her dad.
‘As Agent Coulson would say, it’s time to call for backup. Let’s give him the send off he deserves,’ she tweeted, according to SCPR.
True to their super-hero alter egos, the cast of several comic-book films have responded to her request, with Mark Ruffalo, who plays the Hulk, and Ming-Na Wen, who plays Melinda May in Agents of Shield, rallying the troops. ‘It’s been a bit like a massive flash mob where a whole bunch of strangers hug each other,’ Ms Caldecott, who writes the Something For A Rainy Day blog, said.
The 26-year-old has managed to get selfies of nearly the entire Avengers cast, with only one major character – Black Widow Scarlett Johansson left to track down. Originally, Mr Caldecott’s family had planned to surprise him with the full set, but when he hit a low point at the hospital, they revealed their Marvel plan to lift his spirits. Ms Caldecott says she has been grateful for the star support, especially with Jackson who promotes a men’s cancer charity One For the Boys, and Hulk actor Ruffalo, helping to raise awareness.
‘[The Hulk] was exposed to too much radiation, and his superpower/giant green problem is due to his cells multiplying out of control,’ Sophie said. ‘[Scientist] Banner’s efforts to find a cure are a poignant parallel to our efforts to find a cure for prostate cancer over the past few years.’ With nearly an entire cast of super heroes coming to her father’s aid, Ms Lippiatt is now trying to use her campaign to raise awareness for cancer charities.