Column: The perfect light within


Commentary by Mary Kissel

Sometimes, perfect light comes from within a person.

That’s the story of Kyle Butterworth, anyway. He beams love and joy to the rest of us while we wonder what he knows that we do not.

At 4 months old, Butterworth was diagnosed with a rare chromosomal disorder, and for the past 25 years, he’s redefined the diagnosis from “being challenged” in some ways to being “fully capable” in others. Butterworth lives life to the fullest, staring down his challenges and mostly enjoying the ride that this world has served up.

Butterworth is an avid participant and fan of many things in life. For instance, he knows every driver, the stats and the history of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He and Conor Daley are pals and discuss the ups and downs of their common health issue, diabetes. Butterworth travels when possible with the Ed Carpenter racing team as an honored guest.

And then there is Butterworth and music. He rarely misses a concert in Carmel. Members of one of his favorite bands, My Yellow Rickshaw, recently saw him near the front of the stage at a show. As the band’s most fervent fan, sometimes you will see him on stage. He loves them. They love him.

And the young man has rhythm and heart to beat the band. As he slapped and snapped and sang along to MYR, he didn’t miss a beat. And really, that’s the beauty of the story and the photo; the beauty of Kyle Butterworth. He is alive in every way, in every moment.

No matter what genetics and biology served up years ago, Butterworth is running with it, finding joy after joy. That’s not to say he doesn’t have disappointments. This particular night, he was a little down spirited because most of his friends were out of town. After a while, he shrugged, went with it, made it up front to the stage and danced anyway. And for this writer/photographer, there’s nothing more true, honest and lens worthy than that.

That soft, beautiful light on his face? You got it, it is beaming outward from his heart and soul. Thank you, Kyle.

Mary Kissel, a professional photographer and writer, is a Carmel resident. You may email her at


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