Owen's Story

Images Captured By Vanessa Balenovich Photography

Meet Tiny Light Owen. He loves learning new things in school – especially numbers and the ABC’s. He also enjoys being outdoors either playing soccer or just sitting and watching for airplanes to fly by in the sky.

At age two, Owen’s parents had noticed that he was not developing at the same rate as other children his age. that he had great difficulty when communicating, and that he had severe sensory issues. After a consultation with a medical professional, he was diagnosed as Non-Verbal with Moderate to Severe Autism. According to his parents, Owen “...could not communicate [and] he had no pretend play skills.”

Owen has to work extra hard to accomplish simple tasks that come naturally to other children. The determination and progress that he has demonstrated, particularly with his verbal communication skills, inspires his parents every day. As they say, “He has opened up a whole world for our family, we don’t just get through the day, we embrace the day. He inspires [us] every day to be the best [parent], person and advocate for Autism that [we] can be.”

As a message to others, Owen’s parents say that “this road with children with Autism is a hard one, it is a road less travelled for most ... always be optimistic.”

Story by Stephanie Bond

Meet Abigail

 Images Captured by Vanessa Balenovich Photography

This Tiny Light loves anything athletic. Her mom is sure that when her treatment is done and she is feeling better she will be right back into soccer and dance!

Abbye has acute lymphoblastic leukemia. This diagnosis was made at when she was three, on Christmas Eve 2010. Her mother’s first reaction was numbness. She remembers being told that her baby was sick and that they were going to make her better. Her focus became making Abbye comfortable as much as it did making her better.

A child life specialist helped her family to explain to Abbye that she was sick and that she would have to take medicine until she was six. This innocent and sweet little lady’s immediate assumption and fear was that she had had too much chocolate milk. Abbye’s independence has diminished. She stopped walking after a lumbar puncture in January. Other things she can’t do because of the PICC line.

Though there are frustrating times for Abbye (resulting in major fits), she has for the most part handled thing in a way that amazes everyone around her. Though she is only four, she has a desire to be involved with her treatments. Despite the chemo and many medications, Abbye still wakes up most days wanting to play.
Abbye’s mom admits that some days it’s nice to just curl up and watch movies in bed with her little girl. She stresses the importance of taking advantage of the days that sick children do have their energy! She looks forward to the time when this part of their family’s life is behind them, and Abbye can enjoy life to the very fullest. While she fears things taking a turn for the worse, she is constantly inspired by Abbye’s personality and strong will. "Whenever I see her I know that I need to be strong, because if I’m not strong for her then everything might just fall apart."

Story by Angela Stephen Dewhurst