If you are fortunate enough to do life with JDP senior Carson, then you are witnessing first hand the best this generation has to offer. I’ve known him since he was in kindergarten and have been consistently impressed with him through every phase of his life. It is my honor to feature him on our blog. Click here to contact us re your own custom portraits.
I’m going to start with the easy part of who Carson is that doesn’t make me tear up when I think about it. This kid’s never seen a B because he strives for excellence in all he lays his hands to. He vests deeply with his people and his activities and that’s reflected in his academics and his commitment to be a contributor in FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) and his church youth group.
He’s a kid who makes sure people feel welcome and cared for without thought for his own gain. This has meant he has been surrounded by incredible people through every phase of his life who have cheered him on and laughed heartily with him. Whether it’s on the basketball court that’s been like a second home to him much of his life or racing around the neighborhood with his buddies, if Carson’s there, there’s sure to be a good time.
For his funny side, there’s also the very serious academic side of Carson. He’s eyes on the prize ahead to study Engineering at potentially Penn State, Virginia Tech, University of MD or Delaware. All of which have already given him the much anticipated acceptance letters. No easy feat for sure. From experience I know that VT has wait listed students with 4.7 GPA’s and 1500 SAT’s from the class of 2021! One element that sets Carson apart has been has commitment to service in the community, often in the local basketball programs and his church. He has wracked up 700 service hours!!
Now, here’s where it gets a little harder and I start tearing up as I write. Carson was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes when he was a baby. At the time of his diagnosis the Snyder family was just starting to ease into a new ‘normal’ in handling Carson’s sister, Riley’s health complications from her Down Syndrome. Primarily her heart issues. They were just starting to get a breather when Carson’s grandmom had suspicions that something was wrong with Carson. Cut to a trip to the ER which led to the realization that he had one day’s worth of insulin left in his body and a diagnosis of juvenile diabetes.
From the diabetics I know, Carson’s case has been often less able to be managed and has led to many scares over the years that leave his parents in a perpetual state of vigilance. I’ll never forget seeing the frustration and fear in his mother that broke my heart when they came to basketball camp late one summer day, with high blood sugar that would not relent for days. Carson was frustrated and wanted to be at camp with his friends. We all wanted that for him, but felt helpless to provide it for him.
Carson continues to step into every venue in front of him to give his all and refuses to let his diabetes stop him. When we were creating his portraits, we remembered the song line that I made up for him when he was just a little guy. His mom Kelly and I were loaded into my van with our boys on our way home from a mother/son beach trip. Carson’s blood sugar was high and it was refusing to come down regardless of Kelly’s interventions. She had no choice but for us to pull over to give Carson an insulin shot.
Just like every kid I know, Carson didn’t want to get a shot. He was upset and all the kids in the car were scared for him. My boys asked Kelly not to give him a shot, further breaking all our hearts for poor Carson. Carson and Kelly stepped outside the van and I tried to distract the boys from what was happening. I figured we’d hear Carson wailing and throwing a fit as I’m fairly certain my boys would have done knowing a shot was coming.
Carson walked up to the van and started to get back in. “Carson, you need to go get your shot,” I said with a firm empathy. “I already did Ms. Jen, we are ready to go,” Carson informed me. Wait, what?!? We were all shocked. We hadn’t heard a peep out of him. At the time, in my spiritual training for my boys I had made up a song to help them deal with fears of their own. It immediately occurred to me that we needed to add a line to it. “Brave like Daniel in the lion’s den, brave like Jonah in the belly of a whale, brave like Carson when he’s getting a shot!”
Carson, it’s been a joy watching you grow into such an incredible young man! You know how deeply you are loved by soooo many people! Your impish smile, your laughter, your kindness, your servant heart, your sense of humor and your work ethic all make you an absolute delight to share life with! We can’t wait to see what’s in store for your future! We pray the Lord’s hand of protection over you mightily and may you soar high as you achieve each and every one of your dreams! He knew just what he was doing when he made your mom your mom and that’s a blessing that will follow you all the days of your life!