A toddler who makes use of a wheelchair was left surprised throughout a visit to Goal after seeing a poster that featured a boy similar to him.
One-year-old Oliver Garza-Pena of Peoria, Arizona doesn’t at all times get to see youngsters like him. The tot, who has caudal regression syndrome, depends on a wheelchair to get round and can by no means be capable to bend his legs or stroll, his mother Demi Garza-Pena tells PEOPLE.
“We discovered about his situation after I was 18 weeks pregnant. His backbone didn’t develop due to that, his spinal twine and inner organs have been affected,” Demi, 26, says. “He sees youngsters on a regular basis, and he’s at all times watching them run round.”
It wasn’t till earlier this month that every little thing modified for little Oliver.
Demi shares that on Feb. 4, she and Oliver took a visit to Goal “and I wasn’t actually paying consideration and he stopped his wheelchair and he flipped it round and appeared on the poster, and as soon as I noticed what was going I used to be bowled over by it.”
Demi says Oliver utterly stopped in his tracks, trying up in awe at an advert that confirmed a bit boy smiling broadly in a wheelchair.
“It was extraordinarily heartwarming to see him relate to somebody on a poster, he’s hardly 2 years previous. We don’t get to see that type of stuff on the market. It’s the type of position fashions these youngsters want. We simply actually valued that second,” Demi tells PEOPLE.
When Demi referred to as out to Oliver, she says he didn’t even reply. The tot was so targeted on the advert that he didn’t transfer.
“Once I defined that the boy had a chair like him, he received all excited. He did a bit giggle,” Demi says.
Moved by her son’s adoration for the advert, Demi shared a photograph of the second on Oliver’s Fb, which she makes use of to speak about her son’s situation and promote inclusivity and consciousness.
Quickly, the photograph went viral, with folks figuring out the little boy within the advert as 10-year-old Colton Robinson from West Springfield, Massachusetts.
“Individuals started saying, ‘That’s Colton!’ and introduced us collectively and now me and the mother are speaking day and night time, and we share tales,” Demi shares.
Colton’s mother Ashley Robinson was additionally floored by the response.
Ashley, 39, tells PEOPLE that Colton, who has spina bifida, received into modeling again in 2014 and has performed work for Toys “R” Us, Tommy Hilfiger and naturally Goal.
Spina bifida is a situation by which a child’s spinal twine fails to develop correctly.
“In the direction of the tip of final 12 months the shoot occurred,” Ashley tells PEOPLE of Colton’s Goal advert. “We have been sitting at residence and Colton’s faculty nurse got here throughout the publish on this help web page and was like, ‘Oh my God! I do know that little boy.’”
“His nurse then reached out and informed her about Oliver. Demi messaged me that very same night time and I informed her, ‘Your publish has me crying.’”
Ashley explains that she knew Colton’s advert could be in Goal, however didn’t know which Goal, so the publish got here as an enormous shock.
“He’s been speaking about it,” Ashley says of Colton. “He’s actually loved understanding that somebody’s been trying as much as him and understanding that he could be a position mannequin. When doing the photograph shoot, we don’t actually take into consideration how different households will really feel. So, for me it was the primary time I noticed a response. It was emotional and exquisite.”
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Though they’ve bonded by means of the expertise, the boys have but to fulfill.
“We’re having a whole lot of enjoyable connecting and it’s actually particular that Colton wanted somebody to look as much as him and Oliver wanted somebody to look as much as,” Demi says.
Quickly, nevertheless, Demi hopes the boys will “cross paths.”
“We do hope our paths cross. At some point we wish the boys to play and race down the road collectively,” Demi says including that she and Ashley have “made a lifelong friendship over this.”