When Alan Lawrence’s son was born with Down syndrome, he said, “it was a shock. It felt as though he would put limits on what I would accomplish, what my family would accomplish.”
Fast forward 18 months, and nothing could be further from the truth, Lawrence said. Wil, his fifth child, “brings a light to our family.”
Inspired by how Wil has enriched the lives of those around him, Lawrence set out to show not only how Wil has placed no limits on the family, but rather, “has opened so many doors.” He’s convinced Wil will do anything he wants to do in life.
Maybe even fly.
“When Wil was little, he would lie on his stomach and raise his arms and legs like he was flying. It wasn’t something any of my other kids did,” he said. “We all said, ‘Look, he’s flying!”
Lawrence’s photo series shows Wil “flying” through beautiful landscapes and everyday scenes.
The overall goal of the program, Lawrence said, is to “raise awareness around Down syndrome.” The photos have proved so popular that the family wants to create a calendar of Wil’s photos and then donate half the proceeds to two Down syndrome foundations: Reece’s Rainbow, which supports adoption, and Ruby’s rainbow, which helps young adults with Down syndrome go to college. The family recently launched a Kickstarter campaign.
The family also hopes to take Wil’s show on the road. The Utah dad said that by photographing Wil in other destinations he could make the project last longer and hopefully raise more awareness. Wil's loved ones also hope to visit other families with children with Down syndrome to tell their stories.
“Basically, we want to flood the Internet with this good message," he said. "I want to give other people new to this journey messages of joy and hope.”
Lawrence is also hoping to help people overseas who don’t have access to the same level of care and treatment through his YouTube channel. He’ll put up therapy tutorials and also video the family’s everyday life.
“I see my other kids with Wil and they are so excited for this journey with him," he said. "He’s already taught us so much about compassion.”
Plus, said Lawrence, Wil is like a “rock star” in their neighborhood.
Maybe that’s what Wil will be when he grows up. That is, if he’s not too busy flying.