“The idea was to showcase their inner strength in a way that would bring a smile to their faces as well as others struggling with similar issues,” Rossi wrote in his blog post explaining the project.
Sofie Loftus -- Wonder Woman
Sofie Loftus, 3, has a rare form of eye cancer called embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma, but now she’s Wonder Woman. Rossi chose the superhero for her because she had just finished radiation therapy prior to her photo shoot, but still did her poses “with fierceness,” he wrote. “Sofie is a real fighter and fits perfectly as Wonder Woman!”
“From the start of Sofie’s treatment in January she has never complained once at all,” her father, Andrew Loftus, told ABC News. “It was amazing to see her look as strong as she felt. Mind blowing, really. It totally changed her outlook on everything as well. She’s had a positive attitude through everything but seeing herself as this superhero, actually as Wonder Woman, it was amazing to see her light up.”
Teagan Pettit -- Superman
Teagan Pettit, 9, was born with only half a heart, a condition known as hypoplastic left heart syndrome. He has had three open heart surgeries and had to wait more than a year for a heart transplant. But now, he’s Superman.
“Superman grows weak when Kryptonite is near, where as Teagan cannot regulate temperature because of his half heart,” Rossi wrote on his blog. “Teagan's mom said that every day is a blessing. Teagan's condition could fail any day because of his heart but he keeps moving forward. Superman and Teagan both have hearts of steel!”
Simon Fullmer -- Batman
Simon Fullmer, 5, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a cancer of the nerves, but now he’s Batman.
Simon’s mom told Rossi that her son is “a very literal kid” who “wants to know exactly what is going on and can tell when you are trying to sugarcoat it.” She said that he’ll even correct his doctors and nurses if they forget to do something.
“Simon is a super tough kid and has dealt [with] all of this like a true superhero which makes him perfect for the character Batman!” Rossi wrote.
Zaiden Stolrow -- The Flash
Zaiden Stolrow, 7, suffers from severe ADHD, but now he uses that energy as The Flash.
Rossi said that Zaiden loves to run and has endless energy, which also got him in trouble at school. Over time, Zaiden’s friends stopped inviting him to events and his mom told Rossi she saw “the light leave from his eyes.” That’s exactly when Rossi decided to turn Zaiden’s weakness into a strength as The Flash.
“Maybe now his friends will not only invite him to their parties but ask him to bring the suit and be the life of the party,” Rossi wrote of the handmade costume designer Julie Whiteley made for Zaiden, as well as the other children.
Mataese Manuma -- Aquaman
Mataese Manuma, 2, has a rare form of cancer called acute megakaryoblastic leukemia, but now he’s Aquaman. Rossi called him “a powerhouse” for being so strong after having just finished a round of chemo.
“Mataese, just like Aquaman from the movie, is of Polynesian decent and so I thought it would be a perfect fit to be the God of the water,” Rossi wrote.
Kayden Kinckle -- Cyborg
Kayden Kinckle, 5, has been a double amputee since he was 1 year old. He was born with omphalocele, which caused his internal organs to grow outside his naval. In order to save his life, Kayden's mother chose to have his legs amputated, Rossi explained on his blog. Now he’s been transformed into Cyborg because “in younger years [Cyborg] was a healthy boy until he had a horrible accident. His father kept him alive by giving him robotic parts.”
When Kayden was shown his superhero photo, his reaction was out-of-this-world.
“He was like, ‘Wow. Mommy I love it. I’m a superhero now,’” Nikki Kinckle told ABC News. “He’s a double amputee so to see himself standing up straight like that without his sticks or anything, he was just amazed. It was wonderful. I love to see him smile.”