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Beauty ad with woman in wheelchair leaves girl with rare disease mesmerized

1 month 22 hours 50 minutes ago Tuesday, August 20 2019 Aug 20, 2019 August 20, 2019 12:25 PM August 20, 2019 in News
Source: ABC News

LEESBURG, VA - A young girl who was stunned seeing a woman in a wheelchair featured in an Ulta Beauty ad has won over hearts across the internet.

Maren Anderson, 4, has a rare disease caused by a gene mutation resulting in early infantile epileptic encephalopathy, spinocerebellar ataxia and pontocerebellar hypoplasia. The illness has put Maren in a wheelchair.

Her mom Carolyn said they were passing by the Ulta when her daughter came to a halt. In the store's window was a promotional image featuring a model in a wheelchair.

"Well Ulta, you absolutely stopped my girl in her tracks this evening," Anderson wrote in a Facebook post. "It was mesmerizing to watch her stop, turn, and gaze at this poster. So thank you."

Anderson told Good Morning America that Maren has been practicing navigating her new wheelchair for almost 12 weeks and only recently became more comfortable using it in public.

"On this particular evening, Maren was cruising on the sidewalk in her wheelchair with a confidence we had not seen before," Anderson said. "She was so eager, we could barely get her to stop at crosswalks. Then, she suddenly stopped and focused all her attention on this image of a woman in a wheelchair like hers. It was amazing."

Carolyn said the moment meant a lot to both her and her daughter

"She got to see herself in this picture, and that planted a seed for her to see that there is a place for kids like her in this world. She was included," Carolyn said.

Since it went up, the photo has been shared more than 75,000 times.

"It is our hope that families who see images like the one at Ulta Beauty will have open and continued dialogue with their children about inclusion," Anderson said.

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