Hi Everyone, May 12th came and went so fast. The show was everything I had hoped for it to be. The room oozed of positive energy. For me the evening was a complete whirlwind seeing three years in the making finally come to fruition. As I've said to those close to me, the only other event similar in my life to compare it to was my own wedding reception, where the fleeting details are lost in obscurity. After asking at least a handful of people about attendance, the reality was there were between 250 to 300 attendees throughout the night. The highlight was witnessing the faces that were so deeply moved. Not that my goal was to make people cry, but it was heart-warming to see such an emotional response, surprisingly quite a few men were struck hard. Common comments were made, "I can't imagine being a single dad in that position". Even if it had been a single mother should it be perceived any different or any less of a struggle, but with the traditional role left to a man in such a position was a trigger for some of the men in the room. What this meant all in all, was that I succeeded in what I was trying to do; to have one step into the shoes of another. It was all of the elements that came together that night that helped make it so impactful. The recognition of all our sponsors who made this show possible, the children's artwork that was donated that filled one wall that surrounded an image of Alyssa, the media support, the community support, and the overall message of reaching out and helping someone else. I believe it all resonated.
I would like to take a moment to thank some very special people. Joe Vance and the Southeast Center for Photographic Studies in Daytona Beach, FL, I thank Joe for his immense help, knowledge and friendship. Thank you to Kevin Miller the curator of The Southeast Museum of Photography in Daytona, FL for connecting me to Reg Garner owner of Triangle Reprographics in Orlando, FL. Love for Alyssa's beautiful prints, that stellar quality, made from a LightJet photographic digital printer on Fuji Crystal Archive photo paper. They are silver halide emulsion prints (not inkjet). Thank you to Victoria Jones and Markus Heilman, owners of Frame of Mind in Ormond Beach, FL for all their help and generosity. Thank you to Piedmont Plastics for sponsoring our plexiglass. Thank you to Hammock Beach Resorts for their amazing 3 bedroom oceanview suite and round of golf we raffled off at the exhibit. Thank you so much to Quenby Shereefor helping with the hard and tedious work of framing the images. Thank you to my brother-in-law, Rodd Kaczmarek for building a beautiful crate to store these images in. Thank you to Diana Nguyen and Tyler Gynizio for all of their help the night of the exhibition. Thank you to Hollingsworth Gallery. Thank you to Debbie Blazer for saving me the night before the exhibition with her talents. Thank you to Delynn and Kenneth Maples for all of their support, friendship, and hard work.
Also, I would like to thank Jennifer Kuiper for all the hard work she has volunteered to do since the start of this non-profit. She is an amazing person. Thank you to Kerri Huckabee and her school, Flagler Beach Montessori for their ongoing support, and to all the children of her school who donated artwork for our children's exhibition. Thank you to the children of Trinity Troopers Youth Group of Trinity Presbyterian Church, brownie troop 872 , the Hollingsworth Gallery's art classes, Flagler Highschool, and Pathways Elementary - where Alyssa attends. Thank you to the children of Hollingsworth art classes and the children of various other schools. All these children's artwork filled one wall that surrounded an image of Alyssa. Their inspirational work added magic to the evening.
In addition I would also like to thank the following people for their knowledge and gifts. Thank you to our wonderful musical act Beartoe. Thank you for all of the food that was sponsored for by Blue at the Topaz, Thai Korner, Woody's BBQ, Dominics Deli and Publix. Thank you to Sean McNeil, Christina Katsolis, Alexis Rogers, Victor Rollins, Eva Bishop, and Betty Jo, and Kacie Boniberger of UCF who interned with us. We are so grateful for all of the great supportive press we had. It was definitely a nice surprise to wake up the morning of the show to find that Alyssa was on the front page of the Daytona Beach News Journal.
Here are links to the following articles leading up to the show starting with the last.
A very special thank you to some special people in my life who traveled to share this special evening with me, my family; Debbie and Emilio Martinez, Christian, Natalie, Sammy, Alex, and baby Chrisitan who came from South Florida, Toma and Sharon Kaczmarek who came from Chicago, and our VP Delynn Maples and her husband Kenny Maples who came from Washington State.
Thank you to everyone who came out to support Alyssa and Joseph. Our first purchase was made a couple weeks ago, we assisted in getting Alyssa a wheelchair she needed to have while in school.
I've also been grateful for the acknowledgement of being one of the 11 finalist for the Michael P. Smith fund through the New Orleans Photo Alliance for my work in Love for Alyssa.
All I can say is that it is an exhilarating feeling to do something good!
* I do have a more serious note here to pass. To refresh, Joseph Parthemore is 2 years old and also born with arthrogryposis. Joseph's condition has affected him differently than Alyssa because he has the potential to walk one day. Currently he is fed through a tube and until recently he was not able to breathe on his own. He has made major strides since we first met last summer. Joseph's daily life can be life threatening if unattended. He requires 24 hour care because he is incapable of swallowing. Fluids in his mouth must be consistently suctioned. To Joseph's family he is known as the three million dollar baby because as of date his medical expenses have surpassed that amount. Recently Blue Cross Blue Shield has dropped coverage for his 24 hour care, leaving Medicaid demanding a $2,800 a month co-pay for a nurse. This is an amount that they simply can not reach, and they are losing their battle against the insurance companies.
What is wonderful is that I have a platform to get this message out because his family is not being heard. If you can help or know someone that can please pass this along.
Our video of Joseph is almost complete, I just saw the first cut a couple days ago. Jason Greene is so gifted. Please stay tuned it will be posted soon.
Please continue donating and supporting these children.