A story and a wonderful photo of a young boy seeing an inclusive ad featuring a model with a wheelchair has gone viral, bringing awareness and deserved recognition.
A young boy named Oliver was at Target with his mom when he noticed an ad that looked a little different than what he was used to seeing. The boy in the ad had a wheelchair just like him and was happy and smiling on a huge, brightly lit display. Oliver was in awe.
Young Oliver has a rare condition called Caudal Regression Syndrome. It is a genetic disorder affecting the development and usefulness of the lower portion of the body. While the world is certainly getting better at showing understanding towards fellow humans on a number of topics like race, religion, and gender, those with disabilities often find themselves left out of the movement. Models don't always have to fit a mold and look certain ways. This choice by a retail leader to be progressive was truly witnessed in the cutest way and perfectly captured by a proud mom.
His mother, Demi Porter Garza-Pena, snapped a photo and shared it to her Facebook page dedicated to her son and bringing awareness to his special condition. The post went viral (as it should have) and acts as a great reminder that those with disabilities deserve to be treated as equals. The Facebook post has over 50,000 likes and 35,000 shares. It turns out that the social media post became so popular that the young boy model in the ad ended up seeing it and getting in touch.
My sister has a disability and takes part in an adaptive skating program called Gliding Stars. I can tell you firsthand that there are amazing children and families out there facing challenges most of us could never imagine. Someone with a disability is just as full of wonder, love, and fear as the rest of us. Seeing a story like this gain traction and bringing awareness is just soothing to the heart.
The ad was part of a clothing line from Target that includes adaptive clothing.
Photos used with permission from Demi Porter Garza-Pena.