A New York woman is asking people to lift her nephew's spirits by sending him pictures of single and double rainbows from around the world.
Now, Robbie has received more than 4,000 rainbow pictures from as far away as Taiwan.
"It's very comforting knowing that so many people have reached out to him with the simple request of a rainbow," Crystal Skawinski told ABC News Thursday. "It's like he has a whole world behind him now."
Skawinski, 37, a mom of two from Cohoes, New York, said that she gained custody of her her nephew, Robbie Ecuyer, 9, after her sister and brother-in-law died in May, just 22 days apart.
Shelly Ecuyer died from gastroparesis and cystic fibrosis on May 2, while Robbie's dad, Robert Ecuyer, died after a battle with addiction on May 24, Skawinski said. Soon after, Skawinski became Robbie's legal guardian."The first loss, my sister, was hard enough," Skawinski added. "He lost his bedroom, his toys, his mom, his dad and everything that was consistent in his life. Robbie is autistic and the consistency in life is what [he is] used to, so all of that was taken away.
"[Gaining custody] helped pull me out of the depression from the death of my sister. There was no second-guessing. Robbie was mine now and that was that."
Skawinski said that Robbie, who loves rainbows, was told that his mom went "over the rainbow bridge" when she had died. The day she passed, a double rainbow appeared over Robbie's school and a family member, Erica Toma, snapped a picture.
"I sent [the photo] to his father to help make a mental picture for Robbie," Toma told ABC News. "As you see, one rainbow so strong and another quite vague -- another symbol for Robbie to understand mommy was waiting for daddy. Now we find double rainbows all over."
The rainbow brought a lot of joy to Robbie, but when another one didn't show up one day, his aunt, Skawinski, decided to find other rainbows from around the world.
"When he didn't get a rainbow one day, I just went on Facebook and started asking for them," Skawinski said.
On July 22, Skawinski began requesting rainbows using the hashtag #rainbowsforrobbie.
"It's raining so Robbie came out to check for rainbows," she wrote in the original post. "Make sure you send me rainbow pics if you have them!!!!"
Skawinski hopes to place all the rainbows in a slideshow with music for Robbie, she added.
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