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Photo shoot turns boy fighting cancer into superhero

Robert Hart has been battling cancer for more than half of his short life.

The 12-year-old Georgia boy, diagnosed at the age of 6 with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, has been in treatment almost nonstop since his diagnosis. His illness has forced him to miss out on a lot of adventures, but earlier this month, Robert got to live out a dream thanks to a family friend, some stunt performers and a harness and steel cables.

Photographer and family friend Brandy Angel, founder of the nonprofit Be the Change, told “Inside Edition” that Robert was slated to be part of a fantasy-themed photo shoot through her organization last year, but couldn’t participate because he had been hospitalized again. Angel kept his chosen costume -- Superman -- waiting for him, promising him that he would wear it one day.

When Robert’s mother, Kacie Hart, posted an update on Facebook earlier this month stating that Robert’s latest round of treatment, conducted in Seattle, had failed to produce the long-lasting results they’d hoped for, the photographer decided it was time to help him fly.

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Angel said she contacted a friend who owns a casting company and, before she knew it, she had professional stuntmen willing to give their time to help Robert.

The boy was all smiles when he finally donned his Superman costume. With the help of the stuntmen, he was fitted with a harness and suspended with cables so he could “fly.”

Robert’s photo shoot took place in front of a green screen, with Angel editing the cables out of the pictures and putting him in front of a variety of backgrounds, including flying above the Atlanta skyline.

“I had never seen him this way,” Angel told “Inside Edition.” “He was so full of energy and happiness. Last time I saw him, he was in a wheelchair.”

Video of the photo shoot, which took place Feb. 9 at Southeastern Movie and Stunt House in Atlanta, showed Robert grinning and laughing as the stunt crew hoisted him into the air and helped him into a flying pose. Smiles also lit up the faces of those helping him fulfill his dream.

Scroll to the end of this story to watch video of Robert's photo shoot. Find additional photos from Robert's adventure as Superman at BrandyAngelPhotography.com.

Besides learning to fly like a superhero, Robert also learned some stunt techniques and fought a stuntman wearing a Batman mask. Angel said in a Facebook post that the day was one of the greatest of her life.

This had to be one of the best days of my life. To see the smile on Robert's face was indescribable. Thank you so much...

Posted by Be the Change - Brandy Angel Foundation, Inc. on Thursday, February 9, 2017
 

Hart said seeing her son’s smile again was amazing.

“They made him feel strong and powerful, and he doesn’t feel like that most days,” Hart told “Inside Edition.”

Hart wrote in her update on Robert’s Facebook page, titled Robert the Great, that her son knows more treatment is ahead for him, but is happy and enjoying life each day.

“He is currently enjoying a rare break from pain and discomfort,” Hart wrote. “He looks and feels better than he has in a few years.”

Finding the right words for a post like this is tricky.  Too little information and people jump to their own conclusions...

Posted by Robert The Great on Monday, February 6, 2017

She wrote that she and her husband hope to get their son into another immunotherapy trial. If that trial fails, the next option would be a bone marrow transplant, which isn’t ideal because of severe liver damage caused by years of chemotherapy.

“Our hope will never falter, though now it seems more guarded,” Hart wrote. “(Doctors) are now kindly suggesting that we enjoy the time that we have with our son. We no longer talk about statistics or numbers with others. We just keep working the problem the best that we can. We feel as if the cure that we so desperately want for Robert is quickly slipping from our grasp, but we are trying to remain hopeful that we will still win.

“As of right now, Robert feels great and we plan to take advantage of that and enjoy every second of every day. We will never give up.”

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