The John Thomas and Special Friends Fund

A couple weeks ago I headed to Lombardo's in Randolph to photograph a benefit for The John Thomas and Special Friends Fund.  The Wilmar family host this event each year, and when I photographed them back in the summer and they told me about it, I asked them right away if they needed a photographer.  I haven't known them long, but honestly, I fell in love with the Wilmar's the first time I photographed them, and getting to know them a little bit more over the past few months has just confirmed my first impression- that they are an incredibly strong, loving family that give so much to the people around them.  The fund that they started in their son's name goes to helping provide special children like John Thomas with long term care, therapy, medical equipment, etc., and also helps support places such as the Children's Hospital Boston and the Perkins School for the Blind that give care for special needs children.  There were so many special children at the event, and it was incredible to see how these amazing families come together to care for them and support these facilities and the additional equipment and therapies it takes to care for these kids.  Shawn used a quote by Al Batt in his welcome speech that stuck with me, which was "It is easy to sit up and take notice.  What is difficult is getting up and taking action."  The Wilmar's have taken action since day 1, and the legacy they are building in their son's name is awe-inspiring. Here are the Wilmar's- Shawn, John Thomas, Ryan and April!

April and Shawn did an incredible job putting together a "winter wonderland"... with of course, a special visit from Santa.  There was also a crew from Kohl's handing out gifts and setting up arts and crafts for the kids!

This little girl had quite the list...

And this little boy was tooooooo cute for words... he had sooooo many questions for Santa about the North Pole...

The Wilmar's set up a Christmas-y backdrop for family photos as well...

This year's event was actually dedicated to two little boys who passed away long before their time.  Their names were Amogh Bharatan and John Makrakis, and these are some pictures of these two beautiful angels...

Inside the ballroom, I couldn't even believe how many raffle and auction prizes there were.  Every wall was LINED with amazing things... and I won't even mention how high I brought the bidding up on this meet-and-greet with Rondo... I tried Jenn! :)

Shawn and April welcoming everyone...

April's dad helped call out the raffles and auctions...

April's mom reallllly wanted that purse...

And Shawn reallllly wanted that flat screen TV! :)

One last shot of the Wilmar family before I headed out... April and Shawn, thank you so much for having me, and for inspiring me beyond words.  Your strength is something to aspire to and you've touched so many lives with your courage... thank you for touching mine!