Thanks To University of Central Florida, Iron Man Actor Is Real-Life Hero To Orlando Boy

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Collective Project program big success

ABOVE VIDEO: Robert Downey Jr. and Albert Manero, a Collective Project student who founded Limbitless, surprised a very special child with a new bionic 3D printed arm at no cost to the family.

ORLANDO, FLORIDA – Alex Pring received an Iron Man-themed bionic arm thanks to the University of Central Florida’s Limbitless Solutions last year. The volunteer student group built the arm, and the actor delivered it to the then 6-year-old in a surprise meeting. The student nonprofit organization has since then delivered more than 18 arms to children nationwide.

At the time, Downey asked Alex if he would like to visit the movie set when the Marvel Comics team got together for the filming of “Captain America: Civil War.”

Downey kept his word several months later and hosted Alex and his family on set in Atlanta. As a summer gift to the family, Downey’s team this week sent the Groveland boy a series of photos from the visit.

“I’m a huge fan,” said Alex’s mom, Alyson Pring. “Mr. Downey not only kept his word but made Alex feel very special during the visit, taking time to talk to him and really giving him his full attention. And you should have seen the reaction when Alex gave him a special gift.”

Alex, now 8, loves bow ties and often wears them. When he first met Downey in March 2015, the actor commented that he loved bow ties, too. So Alex asked his family to buy the actor a red tie to match his own.

Alex then made a special gift box to put the tie in and nervously presented it to the actor when they arrived on the set. “He (Downey) made such a big deal over it,” Alyson Pring said. “He said it was the ‘best gift ever’ and that really made my son feel good.”

ABOVE VIDEO: Collective Project’s Albert Manero is a University of Central Florida student who’s transforming lives with Limbitless, technology that sees 3D printing to create affordable bionic limbs for BionicKids.

During the visit, Downey also arranged for Alex to check out a few movie props including masks of Iron Man and War Machine, another superhero, as well as Captain America’s shield. At the end of the day, Downey surprised Alex by introducing him to his friend Chris Evans, the actor who portrays Captain America.

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Alex and his family have watched Marvel’s newest movie, well, at least several times. “Mr. Evans was really nice,” Alyson Pring said. “They are all incredible people. But we are, of course, team Iron Man.”

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