You. Friends. Future.

This young man Cenel turned 13 today. He is a burn victim. I could not imagine my child having to go through something like this. He is a great kid who will overcome this challenge.

I always tell every young person that I meet, “Show me your friends, and I will show you your future.” Today, that statement spoke louder to me than ever before. Today, I asked my inner circle of friends for help.

Now, 99% of the time, I do not ask for help when it comes to money. I never like to put pressure on people. Either you can help, or you can’t. It does not change my perception of you at all. I understand that I give differently than most people. So my own personal expectations are never placed on others. What I do as a person, is what I do, and what you do as a person, is what you do for yourself.

Today was so much different. Today I asked my friends to donate money to a young man that they had never met. They only knew of him because of me. I have had the pleasure of photographing this young man over the last couple of months for San Joaquin Community Hospital. He is currently being treated for burns to his body. The procedure to fix his skin is painful and I have seen him stand strong through it all.

Today, this young man turned 13 years old. My own son is 12 and I could not imagine him enduring this pain. Not just physically, but also emotionally. I had talked to him and his mother a few weeks ago about how he wanted an Xbox 360. I thought to myself I would like to get him one. So, when I attended his birthday party today at the Grossman Burn Center, I learned that they started a small fund for him to buy an Xbox 360. That is when I decided that I was going to call on my inner circle of friends.

I stopped by their offices, called or texted them on phone, and asked if they would help by giving a donation to this young man. Without hesitation, each gave generously to this gift. They never hesitated. They did not blow me off and say sure and then could not be reached again. They made it happen. One even brought in his own friend who I have never met and gave towards the gift. 

Show me your friends, and I will show you your future. My friends believed me and saw that I cared about this. They believed in my idea. I am grateful that each one of them is in my life. I want to thank each of them for their commitment. I know that they do not want any recognition for this service other than me telling them that he greatly enjoyed the gift. But, I want to recognize each of them here.

  • Monte C. Wilson
  • Chris Clayton
  • Greg McCall
  • Jeff Thorn
  • Brad Peters
  • Erin Henderson
  • Chashere Esquiano (sister)
  • Gina Lopez (wife)

You know when people believe in you when they just respond on the spot and make it happen. I am not trying to brag about myself. But, I would like for you to look at your inner circle of friends and ask yourself, “What would my friends do?” If your friends do not make you a better person, then you need to rethink who you are hanging out with.

My friends brought serious joy to this young man. He couldn’t hold it in. 🙂

May God bless each and every one of you.


Write it down. Take a picture. I don't give a f*ck!

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