I had another Uniquely You Session last week, which was as heartwarming and inspiring as my last one! I walk away from these incredible sessions more sure of my purpose to raise awareness and celebrate these beautiful families by offering them a fun, memorable experience. If you're not familiar with my initiative, here's the coles notes version:
Inspired by my son's ASD (autism spectrum disorder) diagnosis and the understanding of additional financial challenges families face due to costs of therapies, adaptive toys and equipment, respite or support worker wages, etc. And many, many other aspects not mentioned that impact both family and child that I offer one free session per month to a family with a child that has a formally diagnosed developmental need.
My goal is to provide community awareness and create a fun experience for families to connect and create treasured, tangible memories. I was so excited to meet Campbell's family because their positivity and appreciation for daily joy was evident through our email interactions. I knew we would hit it off and have lots of fun!
The following excerpt is from an article published by the Sensory Support Network of Canada that details Campbell's condition.
"Campbell is deafblind as a result of being born premature at only 24.5 weeks. He also has cerebral palsy, Stage 3 kidney disease and cannot walk or speak. He's endured dozens of surgeries, including five to try to save his eyes before he was four months old. At age five months, he was diagnosed as deaf. He is able to hear after an operation for a cochlear implant at age two."
To learn more about Campbell's journey, please see the article.
Through a pre-session questionnaire, mom explained that Campbell is not a fan of having his photo taken, but she mentioned that he loves whoopee cushions, so I brought some with me just in case. And I'm so glad I did! As soon as he felt the vibration on his arm and heard the fart sound, he beamed with joy! His smile and laughter were infectious, and we were all cracking up! I have a new appreciation for fart sounds after seeing how much happiness they brought to Campbell. We couldn't help but laugh along with him.
Campbell is such a cool kid! From his love of classic rock to his comedic timing of silly faces and his passion for fart sounds and motorcycles! He has this amazing ability of spreading so much joy and happiness to those around him. I feel so lucky that I had the opportunity to meet him and his wonderful family. It's truly inspiring to see a family face so much adversity and still have the kindest and most compassionate approach to life. They know deeply what it means to seek joy every day, and I'm grateful that they invited me into their lives so I could capture the incredible bond that they share.
If you'd like to learn more or help with these vital causes, Campbell's family encourages donations go to the following organizations.
Miracle League of Ottawa
Ontario Federation of Cerebral Palsy
If you would like to read more about what sparked this community initiative for me, head over to https://www.vanveitcreative.com/post/at-the-heart-of-my-photography
Please share if you know of a family that may benefit from a Uniquely You Session.