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

Maren Anderson stared in awe of a model in a wheelchair like her.

August 19, 2019, 1:53 PM

A young girl who stopped to stare at a beauty advertisement of a woman in a wheelchair is making many people very happy.

Maren Anderson, 4, has a rare disease caused by a gene mutation resulting in early infantile epileptic encephalopathy, spinocerebellar ataxia and pontocerebellar hypoplasia, which causes her to use a wheelchair.

Her mom, Carolyn Anderson, posted a photo of her daughter looking at the Ulta Beauty ad in Leesburg, Virginia, in total awe.

"Well Ulta, you absolutely stopped my girl in her tracks this evening," Anderson wrote in a Facebook post.

She continued, "It was mesmerizing to watch her stop, turn, and gaze at this poster. So thank you."

Anderson explained to "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."

This moment was very meaningful for both mother and daughter as it was the first time Maren stopped because she noticed an image of someone else in a wheelchair, like herself.

"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.

Shortly after it went up, Anderson's post caught the attention of many, and has gained over 83,000 likes and more than 72,000 shares.

People also left admirable comments such as, "It says a lot of good about the character of this company's people." Another wrote, "Feeling included is priceless."

By sharing this Facebook post, Maren's parents hope that her reaction to the image will inspire more representation of people with disabilities throughout the world.

"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.

"Our wish is that one day it won’t be newsworthy to see our daughter and other people with disabilities represented, it will be commonplace," she added.