I had the privilege to capture this amazing event again this year for all these amazing families, friends, supporters and sponsors. I did photograph this event in October of 2018 as well and it was such a privilege when they asked me if I could come back this year. This organization is very dear to personally. Before moving to Jacksonville, I lived in Sarasota, FL where I was attending college and I was a full time nanny for a little boy. His name is Jonathan. He has autism and apraxia. I worked with Jonathan every moment I was around him. I was taught things by his therapist so I could continue his therapy at home or where ever we were. I would take Jonathan all around town. To the mall, the beach, indoor bounce house, pool, park, museums and more. Where ever we went it wasn’t an easy task to do at times. There were times we would no more show up to a location, he would be holding onto me super tight and cry, because he was scared. With perseverance, determination and lots of patience, we continued to go back to these locations, even if it was for 2 minutes and leave. I would do this over and over again, until Jonathan was no longer scared. Once he was comfortable, his eyes would light up the room and his smile was so strong, my heart would melt. Every one in the room knew he was just another little boy, being a boy. In these moments, my heart was filled with joy. I just knew, in my heart, his family nor I would back down, we kept pushing through, so he was just like any other “typical” little boy in the room. When my time was up their and I had to move on to continue my education, I wrote Johnathan a letter, I wanted him to know how much he changed me, how much he made me stop and release the little things are the big things, he made me realize I could take on anything in this world as long as I wanted it bad enough, to never give up and he loved his family and me unconditionally, under no terms. My hope is one day, he will be able to read that letter and call me on the phone and say “thank you for never giving up on me”. My motto in my life is ” if you believe you can, then you will”. I was taught these lessons by little boy, a little boy were the outside world really didn’t understand him, but I understood him. So, with all that said and there is so much more I could talk about it when it comes to that little boy and so many other things he taught me. This is why this organization is so dear to me. To all the people out there who don’t understand, that’s ok that you don’t, educate your self and know one thing, do not treat these children/adults different, they are like any other child/adult, they are trying to fit into a world that doesn’t understand them and a world that should understand them. Thank you Autism Speaks for allowing me to capture 2019 for you.