If you’ve taken a look inside Robert Downey’s journey’s windmill house, you know that that the 52-year-old’s tastes exhibit the eccentric whimsy of a mid-century circus. So it should serve as no surprise that he when he decided to dance around in a muddy puddle in a backyard paddle pool, he did so while wearing an all-white tracksuit and a red wig and cap.
Don’t worry, though, he hasn’t gone mad. The actor did this for a good cause, and he wants other people to join in on the “Muddy Puddle Challenge”—or at least donate to Random Act Funding, a charity he and his wife founded to “distribute kindness in the form of financial support at the local, national and global levels.”
His latest cause is to spread awareness for ROHHAD Syndrome [Rapid Onset Obesity with Hypothalamic Dysfunction, Hypoventilation and Autonomic Nervous System Dysregulation], an incurable, terminal disease that causes previously healthy children to gain weight and have breathing difficulties, among other problems. Because it’s an extremely rare disease that only affects about 75 people over the world, there is no cure and little funding for the disease.
Last weekend, Downey Jr. went to London to meet Aaron Hunter, an eight-year-old boy from West Dunbartonshire, Scotland, who suffers from the debilitating illness. In January of last year, Hunter made a video addressed to Iron Man to help him spread awareness and generate money for the disease.
“I really, really need your help,” he said. “Some of my friends with ROHHAD have died. I don’t want any more of my friends to die. We need your help, Iron Man….I love you and I want to become a superhero like you.”
— ROHHAD Association (@ROHHAD_GLOBAL) January 28, 2017
The video quickly went viral and connected Downey Jr. with the little boy. He asked him to come to Scotland to meet him, which he did, and the two superheroes took a selfie together.
Selfie game on point! Aaron and I are devising ways we can #gomadforrohhad…Donate just $10 bux (https://t.co/ywpvrsvUm3) to win a trip to #hollywood for the #avengersinfinitywar world premiere. Proceeds benefit @Rohhad_Global and #brianortegafoundation. See you there! pic.twitter.com/wouSDCwWHG
— Robert Downey Jr (@RobertDowneyJr) March 24, 2018
Aaron also created the Muddy Puddle Challenge to raise awareness for the disease. He named it that because he used to love to run in muddy puddles, but can no longer do so, as it’s not safe for him to run and hurts to jump.
Now, in addition to jumping in puddles, Downey Jr. has launched a campaign to help find a cure for ROHHAD. For every ten dollars you spend, you could win a chance to fly out to the World Premiere of Avengers: Infinity War in Los Angeles, and hang out with Iron Man himself at the premiere and after-party.
— Robert Downey Jr (@RobertDowneyJr) March 19, 2018
Jumping in puddles has never looked so good. And for more uplifting tales, check out the 20 Best Feel-Good Stories of 2018 (So Far!).
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