Little Collier Hart has been sick in the hospital ever since he was born. The tiny baby, who was born prematurely back in July, has been bravely fighting a host of medical problems for months now, staying in the intensive care unit with Mom and Dad constantly at his side to give him all the love they have.
But when his dad Eric realized Collier's first Halloween was approaching last month, he wanted to make sure his son didn't miss out on the fun. He also wanted his brave little fighter to get the costume he deserved—which is why he decided to suit him up in an Iron Man costume, just to make sure the little guy knows how mighty he really is.
"I came up with Iron Man because [Collier has] been hooked up to all those machines and wires, and that's similar to what Iron Man went through," said Hart, who just so happens to be a professional prop maker.
The devoted new dad told TODAY.com that he found a pattern for the costume online, but took it down in size to be just-right for Collier. After several hours of careful handiwork, Eric had crafted a tiny face mask out of foam and some soft fabric wrist cuffs to top off the look. He paired it with a red onesie for the "suit."
"We thought we'd dress him up and take some pictures for the grandparents, the family and some friends," said Hart. "I figured I'd put the little mask on top of him just long enough to take a picture."
While the photos were sweet all on their own, the video Hart posted—tracking the costume-making process and then the reveal with baby Collier—is what touched hearts everywhere. As the 35-year-old later told TODAY, "People suddenly are watching it all over the world. It just resonates with them ... being able to find a small moment of joy during months and months of physical and spiritual exhaustion."
Sadly, Collier's many medical problems leave things uncertain as to when he'll be able to go home, but for now the Harts just remain as hopeful as can be.
"There are a lot of times when the baby is sedated, and you can't interact, so this is something we could actually do and say, 'We may not be normal right now but this is our new normal,'" he said. "Even though we're in the hospital, we're trying to do everything that a regular family would do and celebrate all the holidays."
Even though little Collier only wore the costume for about a minute, the touching gesture behind it all has melted hearts everywhere, and reminded us if just what superheroes can really symbolize. Let us not forget the story of "Batkid," who famously got to rule Gotham City last year and feel like he was on top of the world for a day. Or 5-year-old Brayden Denton, who wore superhero costumes while bravely fighting cancer, before sadly passing away in May. He was so empowered by the characters of his favorite comic books, that at his funeral, Brayden asked for superheroes be present. Friends and family sure did him proud.