If there’s one thing I’ve always been jealous of, it is how close my best friend Kate is with her family. Every Sunday, they spend the entire day together as a family of six, and then sit down to a large family dinner followed by board games and movies. I can’t tell you how many times I called Kate to do something and she declined, “I can’t I’m with the family today.” If my parents had ever made me spend time with them instead of my friends, I would have put up a much bigger fight, but for Kate, it was different. Kate’s family had been through a lot together; the death of her grandparents, moving through numerous school districts, and their youngest sibling, Elizabeth, being born with Down syndrome. When I questioned Kate about what she thought made her family so close and different from others, she smiled and answered with out hesitating, “Honestly, I think it’s Elizabeth!” She explained how the love and support her family has for Elizabeth had brought them together in a way not many other families had. After spending more and more time with Kate and her family, I saw what Kate meant immediately. Elizabeth had the best energy, and was always inspiring those around her to give their best. She captured the room in a way no one else could, and she always had something interesting and positive to say. When I was with Elizabeth I would laugh and laugh and I could see how much love she had in her heart for the world and the people around her. As the years went by, Elizabeth and I became good friends. I knew I could always count on her to cheer me up when I needed it, and I consider her one of my strongest role models. Although at first Kate’s family thought they would be “different” because of Elizabeth, they had no idea that this “differentness” would be such a positive influence in their lives. Not only has Elizabeth brought their family so close together, but she changed my life, as well as many others. With her cheerful outlook on life, her free-spirit, and her ability to see the best in people, she is someone that is truly inspirational, and will always have a special place in my heart and motivate me to be the best I can be.