A five-year-old boy has brought joy to the internet after posing for a heart-warming Up-themed photo shoot with his great-grandparents in order to celebrate his birthday – and his mother finding out that she is cancer-free after a five-year-long battle.
In the adorable images, Colorado-native Elijah Perman, five, poses with Richard and Caroline Bain, both 90. Elijah is dressed like the movie’s lovable stowaway Russell in his yellow and khaki Boy Scout outfit, while Richard is balloon salesman Carl’s doppelganger with thick-rimmed glasses and a suit jacket.
Not only were the photos created to celebrate Elijah’s birthday, but also to mark the fact that his photographer mom Rachel is cancer-free after being diagnosed with thyroid cancer when Elijah and his twin Emilee were just three-months-old.
Viral: A five-year-old boy’s Up-themed photo shoot with his great grandpa, 90, has gone viral after being shared online
Cute: The Colorado tot’s great grandparents Richard and Caroline, pictured, starred as Up’s Carl and Ellie Fredricksen
Mom-of-three Rachel, who runs a part-time photography business, explained the significance of the poignant photos to DailyMail.com.
‘Five years ago I was diagnosed with cancer right after my twins were born and I had fears if I would even get to see their fifth birthday. My oldest, Mikayla, was five at the time and I hated not knowing if I would get the same time with the twins that I got with her.’
‘So for their fifth birthday I wanted to celebrate the things they love with photos; it’s a celebration for me and them. The inspiration for the sessions was to celebrate all that my kids love.’
Rachel added that Up is her son’s ‘favorite movie and obsession’.
‘Elijah is very particular, he is borderline addicted to Up and has been for several years,’ she said. ‘The house with the balloons is the only thing he draws and colors and the only books he wants to get at the library, and the only toy he wanted when we were in Disney World last year.’
Rachel had a brainwave to enlist her own grandparents Richard and Caroline to star as balloon salesman Carl Fredricksen and his wife Ellie.
‘Inviting [Elijah’s] great grandparents was my idea and a surprise [for] Elijah. He loved that they dressed up! Richard and Caroline were thrilled to participate and loved that I asked them. Grandpa even went to the thrift store to get the jacket.’
Obsessed: Elijah, pictured, is ‘obsessed’ with the 2009 Disney Pixar movie Up and loves to draw the balloon house in his own photos, so he chose to recreate it for the special photo series
Enthusiastic: The kid’s great grandparents Richard and Caroline, both 90, were thrilled to be asked to join in the fun
Keepsake: Proud mom Rachel said she was happy her son would have the sweet photos with his great grandparents to have as a memory
‘Elijah was tickled at all the accessories and balloons, and I was so giddy at all the details my grandparents put into their characters. What a fun time and wonderful photos to commemorate Elijah’s favorite thing,’ she added on Facebook.
‘I am so glad Elijah will have these special photos to treasure with his great grandparents.’
Rachel also shared beautiful images of Emilee dressed as a princess, joined by a white horse with a makeshift unicorn horn.
Captioning the images, Rachel said ‘the magic is real’.
‘Emilee loves all things girly and princess , so her photo session was a surprise after trying to find someone who would let me put a unicorn horn on their horse and she loved it,’ Rachel told DailyMail.com.
Explaining the reason for the sweet family photos to her loved ones on Facebook Rachel added that it is a ‘big year’ for the family.
‘The twins are turning [five] and Mikayla is turning 10. But its an even bigger milestone to me. Mikayla was five when the twins were born and I was diagnosed with cancer,’ she said.
‘I remember thinking ‘I got five years with Mikayla, what if this gets bad and I don’t even get five years with the twins??!’ The pain of that idea still puts my stomach in knots. But, here we are! We have come full circle! So its time to celebrate,’ she said.
A for effort: Rachel revealed that Richard, pictured with Elijah, even went to the thrift store to find a suitable jacket for the theme
Surprise: Photographer Rachel said that involving great grandparents Richard and Caroline was a ‘surprise’ for Elijah
‘My heart is bursting’, said one Facebook commentor who commended the adorable images
Boy Scout: Elijah, pictured, donned a Boy Scout-style outfit complete with multiple badges for the now-viral images
The uplifting photos of Elijah and his great-grandparents quickly went viral when she shared them online.
Comments flooded in from all over the country from well wishers saying how much they loved the images.
‘How wonderful that they’ll always have these memories and photographs with their grandparents too,’ a comment read.
‘This is the sweetest thing. My heart is bursting! There’s nothing like grandparents,’ said another.
Rachel’s eldest daughter, Mikayla, is celebrating her 10th birthday this week too – and naturally there’s a special photo shoot in the works to mark the occasion.
‘The kids loved their shoots,’ she added. ‘They see me leave frequently to take other people’s photos so they were excited to do something special. In fact, they are excited now to find out what we are doing for their big sister’s photo session, which will likely be a little more ‘grown up’.
‘I had no clue this would receive recognition,’ she added. ‘It’s been fun to see how many people are touched by it. I keep telling the kids, “You are good at bringing happiness to us, now you are making the nation happy too!”‘
‘The magic is real’: Photographer Rachel shared images she took of her youngest daughter Emilee, five, inspired by her love for princesses
Unicorn: The mom-of-three turned a white horse into an awe-inspiring unicorn for her daughter’s photo series
Surreal: The beautiful images of Emilee and her ‘unicorn’ were praised when shared to social media
Special: Rachel said that the celebratory photo shoots were made to represent all of the things that her kids loved