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See Me – Just the Beginning

31 days has gone by since I first made the post introducing this project. But this is not the end. It is the beginning of further acceptance, hope and love for people born with Down syndrome. As I write this on the eve of the 31st and last day of, ‘See Me’, my eyes are filled with tears and my heart is simply full of gratitude.

This last post for 31 days 31 faces of 2016 is one dedicated to giving thanks. This is no small endeavour and surely takes a village! I am thankful for mine.

I must first thank, Kate Herron. Without you, our friendship and the miracle birth of Caleb – none of this would ever exist. I would not have met all of these wonderful people that have enriched my life and changed me inside forever. Without you, I would never have thought that my work had the potential to drive change in the world.  You stood by my side for all of the sessions, interviewed with me from your heart and believed in this journey. It is an experience that will bond us forever.

Thank to you Mandy and Christa. My most loyal and trusted friends in this industry. Continually supporting and driving for only the best. Together these two women spent countless hours on the re touching of the final photos and the design you see on all of the print work. I am forever indebted to you both. I am one lucky woman to have you both in my life.

Thank you to Sylvia Cook and Arisa Alexanian of the Waterloo Regional Down Syndrome Society for your support and positivity. For allowing me to help show the world just how special each of these individuals are. You welcomed me into the WRDSS family without judgement or question.  Thank you for taking the time from your full lives to answers emails and provide feedback. I sincerely appreciate it.

To Meghan Semple. The beautiful face behind every Twitter post for the entire 31 days!! I value our friendship and your willingness to help me whenever needed. You are a true friend.

Susan Cranston I thank you for your guidance on rolling this out and for a fabulous press release. And to Amanda Kind for the proofing of my recent article and caring as much as I do about this.

Many heartfelt thanks to the Waterloo Chronicle, CBC Radio, Rogers Daytime and the Spoke for seeing the value in this project enough to bring it to the attention of our community. This story did not bleed. It was not full of sex or death. It was the story of these families and their lives living and loving those with Down syndrome. It IS an important message and I value your organizations for supporting local stories and the every day lives and challenges of regular people.

Thank you to EVERY SINGLE PERSON in this region and beyond who shared our faces and spread positive messages! This would not have been nearly the success it was without people CARING. Every message  and comment both publicly and privately were noticed by us all.

I want to give a very special thank you and shout out (from the highest peak in Waterloo!) to Steve Nicholson, whose son Michael is in the project, for posting these faces on the WRDSS page and creating our slideshow. Your kindness and prompt attention to this every single day did not go unnoticed. You were wonderful to work with!!

To … Adam, Ashlan, Benjamin, Caleb H, Charlotte, Connor, Caleb, Chloe, Chase, Clara, Colin, Chloe, Cristina, Daydar, Desmond, Eli, Emma, Ethan, Gavin, Jeremy, Kate, Kaia, Kaleb, Kailyn, Kali, Karly, Kason, Katie, Keiran, Kira, Katie, Liam, Maddie, Maguire, Micheal, Natalie, Noelle, Owen, Oliver, Ren, Rene, Russell, Ryan, Samantha, Seamus, Shannon, Wysdom, Taylor, Victoria and Zachary…. I thank you. I thank you for growing my love of humanity when I didn’t think it could grow anymore. Thank you for your hugs, your trust in me and every smile, smirk, pensive look and silly face. Each of your faces and hearts will be with me forever. It is because of you that I look longer at people in this world. I SEE EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU.

Lastly but most importantly to the people that have touched me the deepest. The parents of these children. You have moved me in a way that is very difficult to express. The fierce and unconditional love you have for your children is admirable. I saw it in your eyes during every session. Those looks are forever burned into my memory. I see your children the way you do. I am now hoping that more of the world will too. I just want you to understand how deeply grateful I am to each of you for sharing a part of your family and hearts with the world.

Well, I guess lastly is my family! My Mom….forever my biggest champion. Your words of wisdom helped formulate the title of this project. My hubby for sharing with our girls around the dinner table the articles written and making sure our girls understood the importance of this in our community and to each of these people and their families. Showing them that we all have the ability to do positive things in this world and to help others.

The 2017 ‘See Me’ Calendar is now available for purchase November 1st at www.wrdss.ca for $10. All proceeds go directly to the families of the WRDSS to fund programs, public awareness, events, parental support and newsletters. Let’s blow away last years numbers!!!!!

I do hope there is a day when we don’t need a project like this to remind people to look beyond just the outside of another human being to see that inner light that shows us that we are more alike than we know.

ps- The 2018 concept has already been born:)

Until next year,

Hilary xo 

WRDSS_Owen
WRDSS_Adam
WRDSS_Charlotte

WRDSS_Benjamin
WRDSS_Caleb C
WRDSS_Caleb
WRDSS_Chase
WRDSS_Chloe M
WRDSS_Chloe_2
WRDSS_Clara
WRDSS_Colin
WRDSS_Connor
WRDSS_Cristina
WRDSS_Daydar
WRDSS_Desmond
WRDSS_Eli
WRDSS_Emma
WRDSS_Ethan
WRDSS_Gavin
WRDSS_Jeremy
WRDSS_Kaia
WRDSS_Kailyn
WRDSS_Kaleb
WRDSS_Kali
WRDSS_Karley
WRDSS_Kason
WRDSS_Kate
WRDSS_Katie K
WRDSS_Katie
WRDSS_Kieran
WRDSS_Kira
WRDSS_Lacey
WRDSS_Liam
WRDSS_Maddie
WRDSS_Maguire
WRDSS_Meghan
WRDSS_Michael
WRDSS_Natalie
WRDSS_Noelle
WRDSS_Oliver
WRDSS_Ren copy
WRDSS_Rene
WRDSS_Russell
WRDSS_Ryan
WRDSS_Samantha
WRDSS_Seamus
WRDSS_Shannon
WRDSS_Taylor
WRDSS_Victoria
WRDSS_Wysdom
WRDSS_Zachary

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Family That Loves

Hello to everyone!
What you are experiencing tonight is very much a reflection of my personality. I know two speeds and always have. 120% and 0. Tonight it’s 120% which explains the 4 blogposts in a row!

How is it possible that I am this lucky to have so many incredible families come my way? It is a fact that I never take for granted.
Beautiful August night. Five stylin’ people (of course they are – Mom is an interior decorator). Thank you for your positive energy and pure love.

Hilary xo

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16 copy

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Ms Abbott

When I learned that this sweet young woman was heading off to work on a Disney cruise I knew that my girls would be pretty impressed. And sure enough they were! I wish you safe travels and fun new experiences as you bring smiles to many children’s eyes. It was a pleasure to meet you and be a part of your journey.

Many thanks and much love.

Hilary xo 

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Mariah 12
Mariah 10
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Mariah 13
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giggle

I just love everything about this age. This little guy is a heartbreaker already.

Many thanks and I look forward to seeing you again!

Hilary xo

 

Final 03 copy

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Final 20 copy
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Final 11 copy

Jen Nussey

Willem is such an angel! Gorgeous photos Hil! LOVE!

Trisha Mauro-Barnett

Love the pictures, Hilary! Thank you so much. You are an amazing photographer and we look forward to having Willem’s pics taken with you again in the future.

Lyla Hamid

Really cute :)

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