The Avengers are teaming up to fight the type of scourge usually seen in very special issues of the comic book: Cancer. At least, one man's cancer.
Stratford Caldecott was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer in Oct. 2011. In a blog post this week, his daughter Sophie wrote about their struggle, and the fact that they'd recently been told he only had about 12 weeks left.
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Stratford's also a lifelong comic fan, who'd previously joked he'd keep hanging on just to keep seeing the next Marvel movie. Unfortunately, according to his daughter, he wasn't well enough to see "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" in theaters, and the DVD won't be out until August.
Sophie set out on a rather simple mission, trying to get an advanced copy of the film's DVD for her father — Marvel has already complied, helping to make that dream come true, according to Sophie. But she also set out to take things one step further: Tweeting all of the actors from the Avengers to see if they would take selfies for her father.
"As Agent Coulson would say, it’s time to call for backup," Sophie wrote. "Let’s give him the send off he deserves."
Not all the Avengers have assembled, but the campaign had made some serious headway. The latest to join the fray Friday were Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Hemsworth.
Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and Thor (Chris Hemsworth)
Captain America (Chris Evans)
The Hulk/Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo)
Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner)
Mark Ruffalo, who plays the Hulk and his scientist counterpart Bruce Banner, has been leading the way in encouraging his castmates to join in. Evans thanked Ruffalo for getting him onboard, and Ruffalo also posted Renner's picture to his Tumblr.
Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson)
Samuel L. Jackson has also been promoting his own cancer charity on Twitter recently, One For The Boys, which says its goal is "to encourage men to take their health seriously and raise funds to support research into effective cancer treatments."
They've also reached out beyond the core team to the agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., several of whom were brought to the #CapForStrat table by actress Ming-Na Wen, who plays Agent Melinda May.
Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) and Skye (Chloe Bennet)
Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders)
Agent Grant Ward (Brett Dalton)
Agent Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen)
Agent Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge)
And, how about a villain?
Loki (Tom Hiddleston)
According to Sophie, she's also secured pictures of the Winter Soldier/Bucky (Sebastian Stan), Anthony Mackie (Falcon), Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) and Agent Fitz (Iain Caestecker). She also noted that she's been overwhelmed by the campaign's viral success.
"It’s been a bit like a massive flash mob where a whole bunch of strangers hug each other," Sophie wrote.
While the initial plan was for the whole affair to be a surprise, they revealed the campaign's success to Stratford early during a rough morning at the hospital, giving him a thrill. She also noted the Hulk being a great hero for those struggling with cancer.
"[The Hulk] was exposed to too much radiation, and his superpower/giant green problem is due to his cells multiplying out of control," Sophie wrote. "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."
The one outstanding member of the core team left to find: Scarlett Johansson, aka the Black Widow. Sophie is also trying to channel the support they've given into raising awareness about prostate cancer and men's health.
You can follow their quest on Twitter at #CapForStrat, though the family has called off fans asking Marvel actors to take more selfies.. You can also read an earlier piece Sophie wrote about her father's struggle with cancer in this Verily Magazine article.