What a joy it was to meet my second Need a Smile winners! Back in December they were nominated by a family member who had this to say:
"I am nominating my amazing sister, Jackie! She is a working mom of two, married to her high school sweetheart. He commutes almost two hours a day. They chose to have this commute so they would be closer to family, but needless to say it is difficult for both of them, and became even more difficult recently. Last year around this time my adorable little nephew Cole was diagnosed with autism. My sister and Michael have been through so much as a couple and have been sacrificing a lot for Cole's therapy treatments. They both are so giving of themselves and are doing everything they can so Cole has the therapy he needs. I always say I wish I could just do SOMETHING for them, so I am giving this a shot! Cole's big sister, Makenzie, is always looking out for her little brother and is such a joy to everyone. She lights up the room with her big smile and beautiful blue eyes! Cole just turned 2 in July and he has finally begun to walk without his medical walker and the joy to see him walk is priceless! My sister does the best she can to capture the everyday moments, and hasn't taken Cole for a portrait because it is such a challenge and, let's face it...how many kids really want to sit in the studios being forced to "smile!" She really wanted to have a family portrait done and thought the money should be used elsewhere...for Cole!"
This truly is a beautiful family! Their love for each other was evident and it has seriously taken me forever just to figure out which of their many touching and beautiful moments to put in this preview. Cole is a lucky little boy who will surely thrive because he is surrounded by devotion and love. And though I am sure that is true, I also know that the ones who will be truly blessed are those who have the pleasure of knowing and loving HIM.
Thank you for the pleasure of spending the morning together. I hope these images bring you the smile you deserve!
A little information about Autism in case you were unaware:
* 1 in every 110 children are diagnosed with Autism. That makes it more common than pediatric cancer, diabetes and pediatric AIDS combined.
* Autism is 3-4 times more likely to strike boys (1 in about 70 boys are diagnosed).
* Autism impairs a person's ability to communicate and relate to others
* There are several forms of Autism
If you would like to learn more, please visit the Autism Speaks page by clicking here.
If you would like to get involved in supporting the cause to raise awareness, support and research funding for Autism you can make a donation here or you can plan to participate in a walk.
If you live in the Philadelphia area there is a walk coming up at the end of September. More information can be found here.