James is 5 years old and was diagnosed with Alexander disease when he was 9 months. I will be painting a portrait of him next for The Painting Vitality Project. I travel to these children’s homes in order to take photos of them and get to know them and their Leukodystrophy story, but meeting James and his family was such an incredible whirlwind that I nearly forgot why I was there to begin with. You know that feeling when you’re driving and your mind wanders so much that you forget the last several minutes of the drive? As if steering the wheel, accelerating, and braking were all involuntary? That’s what it was like taking photos of James. He’s so joyful, gentle, and attentive. There isn’t a negative bone in this boy’s body. I took hundreds of photos of him (to use for reference in my painting) and barely even recall what I was doing because I was so caught up in the way he interacted with me and everyone around him. His siblings are a force to be reckoned with and take care of him with great respect. The whole family was one harmonious team, even without their instruments (See background. Incredible violin players!). Our world needs more people like them.