Oct
07
Autism

2013 Autism Walk


On Saturday, my team and I walked for the seventh year in a row to raise money and awareness for autism. We had 70 people turn out to walk in our kelly green shirts this year and I'm SO thankful to each and every one. It was a fun group!

We ended up having a GORGEOUS day to walk. Usually this time of year, we're still sweating profusely, but we started out walking at 7am and it was in the 70s! Yay!



My 13-year old nephew, Noah, pushed his brother Elijah in this cart the whole way:



All along the walk route, there were fun educational facts about autism to read:


On the left is a photo of my sister and her cute family. Her two boys are the ones in whose honor we walk:


Jennifer Stein of Destination I Do magazine came out again this year with her cute family. This little guy participated for the first time 2 years ago when he was only a few weeks old!


Lots of little ones joined in the fun and we stopped along the way to admire the zoo animals:


Thank you to my sweet friends for your support!




Our goal was to raise $6,000 and we exceeded it, raising $6,470 -- the highest amount of any team that walked this year!!

Thank you to each and every one of you who donated and helped us to do something great in the fight to find answers for the 1 in 88 children affected by autism!!! The proceeds we raised will go toward the local ASU research program. The ASU research program is doing some exciting studies that are revealing practical treatments that are being implemented to change childrens' lives NOW.

If you didn't get a chance to participate this year -- it's not too late! Even though our team reached our fundraising goal, the overall fundraising goal for the event is $67,000 short. You can still donate online here! And plan ahead to join us next year!


--------------------------

Equipment used for above photos:
Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 24mm 1.4 lens


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Aug
19
Autism

7th annual walk for autism


Both of my nephews have autism. They are SO sweet and full of love and I couldn't adore anything more. For the past six years, my family and friends have walked as a team to help raise funds and awareness to battle this disorder that has reached epidemic proportions. Last year we had a team of 67 people and raised $4,400!! And we're doing it again this year!

Let me fill you in on some of the basics about this disorder.

Autism is a complex disorder that has no known cause or cure.

1 in 88 children are diagnosed with some form of autism. For boys, the number is 1 in 54.
This makes it more common than pediatric cancer, diabetes and AIDS combined.

Symptoms can range from mild to severe and span 3 general areas:
-Language development
-Social development and behavior
-Repetitive and odd behaviors

No two children with autism are alike. My nephew Elijah is more severe than his older brother, Noah. Elijah is 11 and is nonverbal and often gets frustrated with his inability to communicate his needs.

Noah is 13 and has a moderate form of autism. He communicates well and loves to help his younger brother. Both he and Elijah are in special classes in the public schools. Noah loves to learn and is obsessed with anything relating to technology and communication -- he's always the first to tell me about a new app I need to download and he will friend you on Facebook in the first few minutes of meeting you.

There are some theories about the potential causes of autism. It is generally agreed that there is a genetic predisposition in children with autism that causes them to be susceptible to environmental triggers. A controversial theory that has been refuted by the medical community but is strongly held by a group of parents and some scientists is that immunization shots given at a young age trigger autism.

One last thing I wanted to share on autism--and if you're still reading at this point, you are awesome!--are some early signs of autism. These are important to know so that you can watch your own children and possibly help other parents out who you know. The earlier autism is detected the more successful treatment can be. Here are some "red flags" to be on the watch for:

No big smiles or other warm, joyful expressions by six months or thereafter
No back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles, or other facial expressions by nine months or thereafter
No babbling by 12 months
No back-and-forth gestures, such as pointing, showing, reaching, or waving by 12 months
No words by 16 months
No two-word meaningful phrases (without imitating or repeating) by 24 months
Any loss of speech or babbling or social skills at any age

Remember that autism is very complex and mysterious at this time so no two children will display the exact same behaviors or symptoms. But these are some general things to look for.

One of the most frustrating things to me is that this epidemic is largely ignored by the medical community. Doctors are not taught about it in medical school. Parents take their children in to their pediatrician with concerns about their child's development and they are told that they are over-reacting and not to worry about it. And there is very little being done to find a cure. The effort is definitely out of proportion to the size and extremity of the epidemic. It breaks my heart to think of what we, as a society, may be unknowingly doing to an entire generation of children. We've got to put an end to this disorder.

So this will be my 7th annual Walk for Autism. And I plan to keep walking, sharing, and raising money until the cause and cure is found. The walk is taking place in Phoenix on Saturday, October 5th. My team has a goal of raising $6,000 this year. If you are willing to make a contribution towards helping to find the cause and cure for autism, you can do so here. If everyone who reads this blog donates just $20, we would being doing something HUGE. Please consider a small donation that will make a lasting difference in a HUGE undertaking.

Thanks so much for reading! I can't wait for the day when we will look back on this time in history with gratitude that we have beaten this awful disorder!



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Oct
08
Autism

2012 Autism Walk


On Saturday, my team and I walked for the sixth year in a row to raise money and awareness for autism. We had 67 people turn out to walk in our kelly green shirts this year and I'm SO thankful to each and every one. It was a fun group!

We ended up having a GORGEOUS day to walk. Usually this time of year, we're still sweating profusely, but we started out walking at 7am and it was in the 80s! Yay!


My youngest nephew, Elijah is getting so big! He's 10 now and in years past, has ridden in a wagon for the walk. This year he walked the whole thing:



Thank you my sweet friends for your support!


I loved seeing Jason and Sarah this year! I had the pleasure of shooting their engagement photos a few years back in Hawaii. Such a sweet couple!


Our team was one of the teams who raised the most money this year:


My oldest nephew Noah and his cousin Joey:


We had some creative and enthusiastic walking this year:


One of our youngest team members and my sweet sister's family -- her two boys are the reasons we do this!


The course was littered with fun facts related to autism:


Since the walk took place in the zoo, we stopped often to admire the animals. Hamilton unashamedly sported his shirt dress:






What a fun day!


Our goal was to raise $6,000 and we achieved 73% of our goal -- raising a total of $4,400.

Thank you to each and every one of you who donated and helped us to do something great in the fight to find answers for the 1 in 88 children affected by autism!!! The proceeds we raised will go toward the local ASU research program. The ASU research program is doing some exciting studies that are revealing practical treatments that are being implemented to change childrens' lives NOW.

Here's a video of some coverage of the walk by one of our local news channels:

FOX 10 News - Phoenix, AZ | KSAZ-TV


If you didn't get a chance to participate this year -- it's not too late! You can still donate online here! And plan ahead to join us next year!


--------------------------

Equipment used for above photos:
Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 24mm 1.4 lens


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Oct
03
Autism

autism walk -- I need your help!


As many of you know, every year for the past 5 years I've participated in a walk to raise money for autism research. I'm super-passionate about this cause because I have been personally affected - both of my nephews have autism. Noah is 12 and Elijah is 10. They are so precious to me. If you're interested, my friend Kindra wrote an unbelievably touching story that features my family and you can read it by clicking here.

The number of children with autism continues to rise. At this point in history 1 in 88 children have autism.

Let that number sink in for a moment.

The rates are staggering. We must do something now to help find the cause and curb the effect of this disorder!!

This Saturday, October 6th, I will be walking with my team to help raise money to do just that. The proceeds we raise will go toward the local ASU research program. The ASU research program is doing some exciting studies that are revealing practical treatments that are being implemented to change childrens' lives NOW.

Please consider donating to help my team reach its goal of raising $6,000 toward this cause. So far, we've only raised $3,000, so we have a long way to go in a few short days! Even if you are only able to donate a few dollars, I would greatly appreciate it. You can donate here.

And if you are able to join our team on the day of the walk, we would love to have you! Everyone is welcome! The walk is short and kid-friendly. It ends in the Phoenix Zoo and if you participate in the walk, admission to the zoo is free for the day. You can sign up to join our team - WE LOVE NOAH & ELIJAH - here. You will then receive more info through email.

Thank you so much for reading this and for your support over the years! I really appreciate it!! I will blog on Monday about the walk and give you our final total raised. SO excited about how this money will make a difference in kids' lives.


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Jul
30
Autism

6th annual walk for autism


This is my 12 year old nephew Noah at last year's Walk for Autism. And this is sweet 10-year-old Elijah:


Both of my nephews have autism. They are SO sweet and full of love and I couldn't adore anything more. For the past five years, my family and friends have walked as a team to help raise funds and awareness to battle this disorder that has reached epidemic proportions. Last year we had a team of 82 people and raised $6,000!! And we're doing it again this year!

Let me fill you in on some of the basics about this disorder.

Autism is a complex disorder that has no known cause or cure.

1 in 88 children are diagnosed with some form of autism. For boys, the number is 1 in 54.
This makes it more common than pediatric cancer, diabetes and AIDS combined.

Symptoms can range from mild to severe and span 3 general areas:
-Language development
-Social development and behavior
-Repetitive and odd behaviors

No two children with autism are alike. My nephew Elijah is more severe than his older brother, Noah. Elijah is 10 and is nonverbal and often gets frustrated with his inability to communicate his needs.

Noah is 12 and has a moderate form of autism. He communicates well and loves to help his younger brother. Both he and Elijah are in special classes in the public schools. Noah loves to learn and enjoys playing on his laptop and iPod touch.

There are some theories about the potential causes of autism. It is generally agreed that there is a genetic predisposition in children with autism that causes them to be susceptible to environmental triggers. A controversial theory that has been refuted by the medical community but is strongly held by a group of parents and some scientists is that immunization shots given at a young age trigger autism.

One last thing I wanted to share on autism--and if you're still reading at this point, you are awesome!--are some early signs of autism. These are important to know so that you can watch your own children and possibly help other parents out who you know. The earlier autism is detected the more successful treatment can be. Here are some "red flags" to be on the watch for:

No big smiles or other warm, joyful expressions by six months or thereafter
No back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles, or other facial expressions by nine months or thereafter
No babbling by 12 months
No back-and-forth gestures, such as pointing, showing, reaching, or waving by 12 months
No words by 16 months
No two-word meaningful phrases (without imitating or repeating) by 24 months
Any loss of speech or babbling or social skills at any age

Remember that autism is very complex and mysterious at this time so no two children will display the exact same behaviors or symptoms. But these are some general things to look for.

One of the most frustrating things to me is that this epidemic is largely ignored by the medical community. Doctors are not taught about it in medical school. Parents take their children in to their pediatrician with concerns about their child's development and they are told that they are over-reacting and not to worry about it. And there is very little being done to find a cure. The effort is definitely out of proportion to the size and extremity of the epidemic. It breaks my heart to think of what we, as a society, may be unknowingly doing to an entire generation of children. We've got to put an end to this disorder.

So this will be my 6th annual Walk for Autism. And I plan to keep walking, sharing and raising money until the cause and cure is found. The walk is taking place in Phoenix on Saturday, October 6th. If you'd like to join us in the walk or if you are willing to make a contribution towards helping to find the cause and cure for autism, you can join here (it's so much fun & everyone is welcome!! Make sure to select our team -- We Love Noah & Elijah! -- in the drop down) or contribute here. If everyone who reads this blog donates just $10, we would being doing something HUGE. Please consider a small donation that will make a lasting difference in a HUGE undertaking.

Thanks so much for reading! I can't wait for the day when we will look back on this time in history with gratitude that we have beaten this awful disorder!


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