Robert Downey Jr. recruits heroic teen shark attack victim for his climate change coalition

ABC/Randy Holmes
ABC/Randy Holmes

(LOS ANGELES) — After hearing she was a big fan of both Iron Man and marine sustainability, actor and philanthropist Robert Downey Jr. sent a special message to 17-year-old Paige Winter, recruiting her for his Footprint Coalition climate change venture.

Winter lost her left leg and two fingers as a result of a shark attack earlier this month, but didn’t lose her spirit, as Good Morning America‘s Robin Roberts learned in an exclusive interview. “

I was aware from the beginning, nothing’s gonna be the same ever again. Like, I’m still Paigey. Just a little different,” Winter said.

The chat with the heroic young woman sparked Downey to send her a surprise video message.

“This is a heroic story of resilience, I got to tell you,” Downey said to her. “You’re not alone, but not just because of folks who have had similar stuff happen, but also because of your interest in sustainability and preservation of our oceans and marine life and all that stuff.”

“I’m a fan, I got to tell you,” the Oscar-nominated actor told the teen via his video message. “But also, kind of like Tony with Peter Parker a few years back, I’m in a bit of a recruitment mode, so I wanted to see if you would join my Footprint Coalition, and be my North Carolina ambassador?”

In Captain America: Civil War, Downey’s Tony Stark tapped Tom Holland’s Peter Parker for Stark’s September Foundation internship — but it was all a cover story to recruit Parker’s Spider-Man for The Avengers.

In real life, Downey’s brand new Footprint Coalition vows to find high-tech solutions to cleaning up the environment.

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