I've been photographing Ari and his family since 2012. (Feels way longer - they're like family now!) The first time we met, his mother Leah wrote this about Ari:
"Ari has a rare chromosome disorder called Trisomy 9 Mosaic. What makes it so rare is the mosaic part because every child that has mosaic has the extra number 9 chromosome in different parts of their body. Ari was given a very grim prognosis. We were told he would never learn to eat- suck and swallow- but with plenty of feeding therapy and amazing therapists he worked hard and avoided the threat of a feeding tube more then once. The doctors said he would never walk- but after a surgery on his spine for a tethered cord and tons of physical therapy, Ari was walking by the age of 3 without the use of a walker. They said he would never communicate- but today, with bi-lateral hearing aides, and a 500 vocabulary of signing –he communicates nice and loud! He is the most amazing little boy who has such courage and determination – he is a people person and loves to be loved and he loves to love. We have has several close calls where we almost lost him – but with faith , hope and a lot of prayers from friends and family, Ari today is strong and thriving- he is our SUPERMAN.”
Well that "amazing little boy" is now an amazing young man, and I get to document his Bar Mitzvah next month. Since Ari isn't having a "traditional" service and party, we decided to bring Ari back to the field where he's an honorary team member of the Lynn University Baseball Team with the hope of grabbing some portraits while he plays with the guys. The players really do treat him as one of their own, and I hope that the following images reflect what I love so much about Ari - his curiosity, stubbornness, and mischievous ways.
Are you crushin' on Ari as much as I am now? Check out the blog post from Ari's day as a Boca Raton Ocean Rescue lifeguard here: www.sonjuphotography.com/blog/ari-boca-raton-ocean-rescue