Introducing . . . The 'Everyday Heroes' Project

Everyday heroes. We all have them: those people who teach us to be better, encourage us to pursue our dreams, and hold our hands when the going gets tough. Parents, siblings, neighbors, friends, teachers, religious leaders, and many others—our true heroes. Strong and steady through personal tragedies—theirs and others’—constantly motivating us to be greater, stronger, better. Reminding us that we “can do” anything.

On July 4, 1939, Lou Gehrig gave his “immortal speech” in Yankee stadium, announcing his retirement from the sport that made him a household name. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Lou Gehrig’s disease, quickly claimed the life of the baseball legend when he not yet 38 years old. This fatal, neurodegenerative disease affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, causing ultimate loss of voluntary muscle movement. There is no cure for ALS, but with funding for research and development, there are hopeful treatments.

Last year, I enrolled in my first class from Professor Michael Goldsmith, a favorite among BYU Law students. Intimidated by his intellect and wit, I was also inspired by his pleas to us, as students, to take a “can do” approach to both our legal ambitions and to life in general. Professor Goldsmith suffers from ALS, but has not allowed the disease to run his life. In the November 10, 2008 issue of Newsweek, Professor Goldsmith—a lifetime MLB fan—urged Major League Baseball to help raise funds to find a cure for ALS. On the 70th anniversary of Lou Gehrig’s famous speech, Professor Goldsmith threw the opening pitch at a New York Yankees game. There and around the country players wore a “4 ALS” patch on their jerseys and famous Americans recited Gehrig’s speech during the seventh inning stretch. Professor Goldsmith, one of my everyday heroes, has helped raise thousands of dollars for the cause—an endeavor from which he will not personally benefit because of the disease’s quick progression.

Now you and I have the chance to join the effort to find a cure for ALS. This year will be my final year at BYU Law School. So during this school year (September 2009–April 2010) I will be photographing 25 of your everyday heroes. In lieu of paying a session fee to me, for a $25 donation to ALS TDI (the only organization dedicated exclusively to ALS research) an individual or group of up to 5 will receive a portrait session and a signed 8x10 print. A $50 donation will cover groups of 6­–10. Nominate your everyday hero. If your hero happens to be a part of your own family (like a parent/sibling/child), you could get a family session!

To participate in the “Everyday Heroes” project, please contact me at alli (at) allismiles (dot) com with your name, contact information, and why your everyday hero is a hero to you. Sessions will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis and will be scheduled at a mutually agreeable time during the school year.

Thank you for interest in supporting ALS research and in paying tribute to Professor Michael Goldsmith and to your everyday heroes.

I participated in this great project back in April. Since then, I've wanted to come up with my own version, for something I really care about. Thanks, Justin, for your tips & advice!


  1. This is awesome! Good luck with the project!

  2. I love this idea! I will be writing to you soon about one of my heroes! You are amazing. IN fact, you inspire me!