Dear Leonardo DiCaprio,

When anyone goes after something in his or her lives, a word that often comes up in the conversation is the need for ‘commitment.’ Growing up with a passion for film, watching your commitment as an actor, to take on different characters and to shine in them, has had an incredible impact in my development.

My journey with the word ‘commitment’ started when I was diagnosed with autism at four.  Theatre therapy was something that helped me progress when many other things wouldn’t. I instantly became one of your fans when I got involved with theatre and then later started watching films. I saw your commitment in your films right off the bat. I would try to mimic that type of commitment to my roles on stage.

I couldn’t explain what it was in your roles until I read about the months on end you would take before each role to prepare both physically and mentally to command your performance like in your movie ‘The Revenant.’ THAT was the type of commitment I wanted.

Later, I’d learn that this commitment that I was putting into my acting was something I needed to put more and more into my therapies. You can often feel stretched to the limit when you have to juggle physical, speech and occupational therapy but stretching is something I could see you in you also stretching yourself to film several movies at once. You could make it through all of that. It made me realize that I could do that also.

From my therapies I turned to doing well in school and, maybe most importantly, proving people wrong about what I would be able to achieve in my life.

As I followed your career into my teens, I’d get to know more about your work for wanting to help others as an environmentalist. That’s something I admire as someone who started community service for the first time in high school. I later wanted to become a disability advocate to help those with special needs like me.

Following your work for years, and everything you do for others, I would just like to commend you. When I think about commitment as an adult, who has been able to overcome obstacles to become a speaker, author and film consultant, I can only hope those, regardless of their age, disability, gender, who read this know that they can achieve anything they want in their lives. I hope they can have the same type of commitment that you have shown time and time again in your career.

Congratulations on your success and for everyone you have inspired and will certainly inspire in the future…

Your friend,