SINGAPORE: Robert Downey Jr, who was in Singapore to plug the new Avengers: Infinity War movie, helped swear in 37 young "honorary Avengers" on Sunday (Apr 15).
The children, all of whom are battling critical illnesses, are beneficiaries of the Make-A-Wish Singapore foundation.
The organisation gave them plenty to Marvel about that morning - they got to experience the “Avengers Academy” at Marina Bay Sands, where they were given tactical weapons and challenged to complete five different missions with their mental and physical might.
As a reward for showing their mettle, the children met none other than Iron Man himself, fresh off a press conference for the latest Avengers movie.
The actor, who described the swearing-in as the highlight of any press tour, led the group in reciting the Avengers oath. "You're all Avengers now, so you're going to have to help me," he said, thanking them.
His appearance thrilled 12-year-old Sage Tan, who has maple syrup urine disease - a condition which saw him go through two liver transplants before the age of four.
"I felt happy because this is the first time meeting Tony Stark (Downey's character in Iron Man/Avengers films),” said Sage. “He is my favourite Avenger. I'm very happy to help him on his mission."
Alex Sivarajan, 16, a former beneficiary who has been chipping in as a volunteer, said Make-A-Wish helped give him confidence as he recovered from cancer.
“I want to feel the same satisfaction of helping someone. So today, seeing the kids smiling and being really happy - it made me feel really good and really proud of myself for helping other people,” he said.
This special treat came ahead of World Wish Day, which falls on Apr 29. This year will be the 38th since the first wish that inspired the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Said Dr Keith Goh, board chairman of Make-A-Wish Singapore: "Iron Man actually has a heart problem. When he overcame that illness and designed the suit of armour, he became a strong man, he became a hero."
"This is what Make-A-Wish and World Wish Day is all about," Dr Goh added. "Today is all about the wish experience, the anticipation, the excitement, the happiness, the inspiration. On this note we want to remind everyone that there is an impact for wishes.
“There is a hero in all of us and we need to tell the world about being heroes to all the other kids out there."