'Parents' Photo Contest Winner Makes Little Boy's Day in Inclusive Target Ad Campaign

A boy with caudal regression syndrome and his mother were brought up short by an ad at Target when he saw the model in the ad uses a wheelchair just like him.

A typical stroll through their local Target was brought to an abrupt halt one day as Oliver Garza-Pena caught site of an ad he just couldn't take his eyes off. Oliver, who lives with a very rare condition called caudal regression syndrome (CRS) and uses a wheelchair, spied a large Cat & Jack ad that prominently featured another wheelchair user—and could not look away.

Realizing an unforgettable moment was at hand, Oliver's mother snapped a photo of him staring up at the ad, amazement written all over his face. "I could see the look on his face, he knew that boy was like him," she told Good Morning America (GMA). Oliver, who will be 2 next month, was diagnosed with CRS during his mom's 18-week prenatal ultrasound.

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Courtesy Demi Porter Garza-Pena

Oliver's mother, Demi Porter Garza-Pena, shared the touching photo on Oliver's Facebook page, Ollie's World, and because social media can be pretty incredible, it made its way to the mother of the little boy in the ad, Colton Robinson. "I’m that little boy in the Target display's mom and this picture has me in tears! Tell Ollie he can do anything he puts his mind to," wrote Ashley Robinson on the touching post.

Colton has been modeling since 2014 after becoming a finalist for a Parents magazine contest.

photo contest 2014
Thayer Allyson Gowdy

"Children of all abilities and sizes need to be represented," Garza-Pena told GMA. "I mean, who doesn’t want to look at an ad and see someone that you have something in common with? It’s important for everyone to feel included. It’s just a beautiful thing."

The push for inclusive advertising has been gaining steam lately, with brands like Target leading the way. "When I posted the photo I knew it was heartwarming and had a huge message to us in a very personal way, but we didn't realize the world felt the same way," Garza-Pena said. "It brings us faith to see the backing we got this from. We hope to educate the world on inclusion and representation because every child needs a role model."

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