A boy with autism sang at a school talent show. It didn't go as planned. It went better.

Last Saturday night, 13-year-old Jagger Lavely took the stage at a middle school talent show to sing "Let It Go" from the movie "Frozen."

Jagger, who has autism, doesn't attend Oak Middle School in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts. But since his school for kids with autism is out of town, he was allowed to participate in their annual "Oak's Got Talent" event.

He put on his Olaf costume (excellent choice, Jagger) and took to the stage.


Image via ABCNews/YouTube.

"And the fears that once controlled me / Can't get to me at all!"

The lights went up and Jagger began to sing. He got through the first verse OK, but then ... well.

"Things kind of fell apart a little bit," his mother, Stacey Lavely, told WCVB-5.

GIF via ABCNews/YouTube.

Appearing visibly nervous, Jagger grew quiet at the start of the second verse. But what could've quickly turned into a mortifying moment became a heartwarming show of support.

"It's time to see what I can do / To test the limits and break through"

Seeing their peer stumble, the students at Oaks Middle School sang with Jagger, loud and proud. They even clapped along.

"It just kind of became this spiritual experience," Jagger's mom said.

Me too, Kristoff. Me too. GIF from "Frozen."

"Let it go, let it go / And I'll rise like the break of dawn"

With encouragement from the audience, Jagger was able to finish his performance and received raucous applause.

It probably looked a little something like this. GIF from "Frozen."

The students didn't know Jagger well, but that didn't matter. He was someone in need of a hand, (or in this case, a few back-up singers), and they were quick to help out.

"Here I stand / And here I'll stay"

Jagger is just one of the more than 1 million children in the U.S. with autism. About 1 in 68 kids have an autism spectrum disorder. It cuts across racial, geographic, and socioeconomic lines and can manifest in a variety of ways.

But behind every number, statistic, or new case is a child and a family working through the implications of their particular diagnosis. For many of these families, the future contains a lot of unknowns.

A teacher works with a child with autism. Photo by Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images.

But moments like this can remind them (and all of us) that you don't have to look far to find kind and empathetic people. They're everywhere you look, even in middle school auditoriums.

So sing out, Jagger! Wherever you are, someone will always have your back.

See Jagger's star-powered performance in this clip from ABC News.

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Courtesy of Macy's

In many ways, 18-year-old Idaho native, Hank Cazier, is like any other teenager you've met. He loves chocolate, pop music, and playing games with his family. He has lofty dreams of modeling for a major clothing company one day. But one thing that sets him apart may also jeopardize his future is his recent battle against a brain tumor.

Cazier was diagnosed in 2015. When he had surgery to remove the tumor, he received trauma to his brain and lost some of his motor functionality. He's been in physical, occupational, and speech therapy ever since. The experience impacted Cazier's confidence and self-esteem, so he's been looking for a way to build himself back up again.

"I wanted to do something that helped me look forward to the future," he says.

Enter Make-A-Wish, a nonprofit organization that grants wishes for children battling critical illnesses, providing them a chance to make the impossible possible. The organization partnered with Macy's to raise awareness and help make those wishes a reality. The hope is that the "wish effect" will improve their quality of life and empower them with the strength they need to overcome these illnesses and look towards the future. That was a particularly big deal for Cazier, who had been feeling like so many of his wishes weren't going to be possible because of his critical illness.

"In the beginning, it was hard to accept that it would be improbable for me to accomplish my previous goals because my illness took away so many of my physical abilities," says Cazier. His wish of becoming a model also seemed out of reach.

But Macy's and Make-A-Wish didn't see it like that. Once they learned about Cazier's wish, they knew he had to make it come true by inviting him to be part of the magical Macy's holiday shoot in New York.

Courtesy of Macy's

Make-A-Wish can't fulfill children's wishes without the generosity of donors and partners like Macy's. In fact, since 2003, Macy's has given more than $122 million to Make-A-Wish and impacted the lives of more than 2.9 million people.

Cazier's wish experience was beyond what he could've imagined, and it filled him with so much joy and confidence. "It is like waking up and discovering that you have super powers. It feels amazing!" he exclaims.

One of the best parts about the day for him was the kindness everyone who helped make it happen showed him.

"The employees of Macy's and Make-A-Wish made me feel welcome, warm, and cared for," he says. "I am truly grateful that even though they were busy doing their jobs, they were able to show kindness and compassion towards me in all of the little details."

He also got to spend part of the shoot outdoors, which, as someone who loves climbing, hiking, and scuba-diving but has trouble doing those activities now, was very welcome.

Courtesy of Macy's

Overall, Cazier feels he grew a lot during his modeling wish and is now emboldened to work towards a better quality of life. "I want to acquire skills that help me continue to improve in these circumstances," he says.

You can change the lives of more kids like Cazier just by writing a letter to Santa and dropping it in the big red letterbox at Macy's (you can also write and submit one online). For every letter received before Dec. 24, 2019, Macy's will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million. By writing a letter to Santa, you can help a child replace fear with confidence, sadness with joy, and anxiety with hope.

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