Wilton, New York child photographer and down syndrome awareness photo shoots

In 2010, my best friend's son, Zack, was born with Down syndrome.  I'll never forget the night she told me that her brand new baby boy had DS.  Since then, I've watched his family and all of their loved ones embark on an incredible journey of love, acceptance, advocacy & change to open doors for Zack and other little ones like him who are blessed with that extra chromosome.  We count ourselves lucky to love this little boy who shows us every day that we can change the world together.

Zack is quite possibly my favorite 6-year old.  He loves books, his little sister, and the movie Frozen. He's a whiz on the iPad, and he has the most infectious bubbly laugh that I've ever heard. He calls me "Auntie Gem," and he gives me the best drippy kisses on my cheeks. Oh yeah, and he has an extra 21st chromosome.  But Down syndrome is just that: two little words that do nothing to define Zack, his interests, his dreams, or his abilities.

After spending the past 6 years with a front row seat witnessing this beautiful story unfold for Zack's family, I wanted to connect with other local families in the Down syndrome community and hear their stories.  I wanted  to showcase their amazing children's personalities, capture the love, and bring their stories to life with the goal of advocating that we're truly more alike than different.  

I began gifting sessions to our local DS community for National Down Syndrome Awareness Month in October 2015.  I quickly fell in love with these families and the heartwarming stories that they shared with me.  After sharing their stories on my Facebook page and blog, messages flooded in and I realized how many other people's lives were touched simply by reading these stories and seeing these children with their sparkling eyes, shy smiles, and the pure joy shining on their faces.  

This has since become an ongoing project, and it has truly been such a satisfying personal & professional experience for me.  Every month I connect with 1-2 local families in the DS community and gift a session to them for their child.  In December 2015, I collaborated with Wendy Zook Photography (Zack's mama!) and Sherri Harnisch - Picture Taker for a fundraising photo shoot for the National Down Syndrome Society in NYC.  What a bunch of amazing little rockstars we met who absolutely rock that extra chromosome!

Ready to fall in love with these cuties and their amazing stories?  Read their stories below: