Today I'm starting a new weekly blog series about a cause I am super-passionate about. The reason is the two bundles of sweetness pictured above -- my nephews Noah and Elijah. They both have Autism.

I've shared about Autism on an off on my blog but I've been reading and learning more lately and I just feel convicted to do more. Truth be told, I'm outraged and need an outlet for my feelings. I need others to know some of what I'm learning.

This is first and foremost a photography blog. But it's also a blog where I want to share who I am and what I'm passionate about. I realize that some of you may be groaning that I'm planning on sharing about Autism on a weekly basis but I promise to keep these posts short and sweet. I would encourage you to read these posts and learn -- even if you don't know anyone affected by Autism. Because chances are if you don't, you will. Today 1 in every 91 children are diagnosed with this quickly growing epidemic.

I recently finished this book written by actress Jenny McCarthy that shares some of her experience with her son Evan who has Autism and the journeys of many other families affected by Autism:
While the book isn't super-well-written it does share a lot of information that you won't be hearing from your pediatrician or most of the medical community. The sad fact is that the government is in bed with pharmaceutical companies and companies that make money on vaccines. (I'm not anti-vaccine, I just think we need to be educated and that the vaccines need to be made safer.) I would encourage you all to read it. I want to get the word out so badly that I am willing to send you a copy if you will agree to read it and then, if you like it, to pass it on to another person. If you are interested in having me send you a free copy just email me at melissa[at]melissajill[dot]com and include your name and mailing address.

In addition to raising awareness on my blog and sending these books out for free, I will be donating $100 for every wedding I shoot in 2010 to the Autism Research Institute. This institute is doing great work to help track down some of the bio-medical causes of Autism. Click here to find out more.

If you're interested in reading my family's story, click here.

Stay tuned for more on Autism next Thursday!
+ Comment +