Photographer Transforms Children With Life-Threatening Illnesses Into Superheroes

April 20, 2018 lilit 0 Comments

Having a life-threatening illness or debilitating disability is one of the most difficult things a person can possibly deal with. But just imagine being a small, defenseless child and having to contend with a condition which impacts each and every day of your life from beginning to end. It can feel like your whole life is at the mercy of constant doctor's appointments and crucial medical operations.

Well, one Utah-based digital artist by the name of Josh Rossi wants no child with a serious condition to feel like a victim. And how has he done this? He transformed six children into members of the Justice League and made an epic photo series out of it.

All six of these children either have a life-threatening illness or a serious disability.

This groundbreaking photo project saw Josh and his wife Roxanna turn the kids into online sensations and the photos garnered more than 100 million online views.

So what spurred Josh and Roxanna to embark on this beautiful and heartwarming project? Josh started it soon after another photo shoot he did with his own daughter, Nellee, for Halloween received a lot of positive feedback.

Using digital technology, he made very striking and impressive backgrounds. For the photo shoot, Nellee was dressed as Wonder Woman and for her newfound role as a superhero, she struck a fitting pose.
Parents of children with critical conditions from all around the world felt touched by the photos.

"I had people contact me saying, 'This is my child - they are the real superheroes,'" Josh revealed.

Josh and Roxanna decided they want to give these brave children the chance to create special, once-in-a-lifetime memories immortalized in photographs. The couple started contacting hospitals in order to find their superheroes.

"After weeks and weeks of calling hospitals and trying to find these kids, it became impossible because of red tape," Josh told CNN. "The hospitals couldn't release information to us."

Josh and Roxanna then sought a partner to assist them with their ambitious project, unfortunately, after many weeks of searching for one, they had no luck. The couple were prepared to give up on their project if, after another few weeks, they still couldn't find a reliable person to help them with their dream.

Shockingly after three months, Josh and Roxanna found out that a potential partner with whom they'd discussed their plans was going to carry out the project without them.

"I was so angry," Rossi said. "I don't know if it was grace or my own anger pushing me but I had this fire inside."

The Rossis began to ask around in their own circles if someone could help them get the project off the ground and, as a result, they found a group of six children who made the best superheroes they could have hoped for.

They asked the kids who their favorite member of the Justice League was and each child was given a chance to portray their favorite.

This is Josh alongside nine-year-old Teagan Pettit as Superman and five-year-old Simon Fullmer as Batman.

Teagan's favorite superhero is Superman, and, just like the fictional hero, Teagan is strong in spite of adversities. The nine-year-old unfortunately has a congenital heart defect but has dealt with it very courageously.

Eight-year-old Zaiden Stolrow, who has a passion for running, was born with severe ADHD and so he was given the Justice League character of Flash.

Four-year-old Sophie who portrayed Wonder Woman has a very rare form of cancer called Embryonal Rhabdomyosarcoma.

Two-year-old Mataese suffers from rare form of cancer known as acute megakaryoblastic leukemia.

Batman fanatic Simon is five years old and has a rare form of nerve cancer called neuroblastoma.

Kayden Kinckle as Cyborg

Five-year-old Kayden was born with a birth defect, called omphalocele, which meant that he was born with his internal organs outside of his body because of a hole in his belly button. The condition was life-threatening so doctors were forced to amputate both of Kayden's legs.

Touchingly, Josh has attributed the success of the photo series to his wife, Roxanna, explaining, "I could not have done it without her."

Ultimately, the project is proof that plenty of passion, shared effort, and teamwork is all you need to churn out a successful project that leaves a long-lasting impression on people from all over the world.

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