A wheelchair-bound toddler who is not yet two years old was left awestruck when he looked up at a display at a Target store in Arizona.
Oliver “Ollie” Garza Pena, who is afflicted with a rare congenital condition called caudal regression syndrome, or sacral agenesis, which can hinder development of the lower spine as well as organ function, as KNVX notes, was shopping with his mom at a Target store in Peoria when Ollie saw the display, which showed a young boy in a wheelchair just like Ollie.
Garza-Pena's son, Ollie, is almost two years old. He uses a wheelchair to get around because he was born with a rare condition called caudal regression syndrome, which affects his lower spine and organs. https://t.co/fSNxyxy0NY
— Action News on 6abc (@6abc) February 13, 2020
A post on Ollie’s Facebook page, which is called “Ollie’s World,” read:
Thank you Target!!Today Oliver stopped me dead in his tracks and turned back around to see this picture that he spotted! He just stared at it in awe! He recognized another boy like him, smiling and laughing on a display at Target. Oliver sees kids every day, but he never gets to see kids like him. This was amazing! I am so happy that other kids that pass through here with their parents, will see this! There is a lot of focus on representing diversity, but representing people with disabilities is just as important! ❤
Ollie’s mom, Demi Garza-Pena, told KNVX, “It was just a beautiful moment to see. Him admiring somebody like him because he doesn’t get to see that often.”
The boy whose picture was taken for the display posted on Ollie’s Facebook page, “I’m that little boy in the Target displays Mom and this picture has me in tears! Tell Ollie he can do anything he puts his mind to!”
Luca Bakemeier, the Target store director in Peoria, told KNVX, “It’s what we live for, what we love to see that kind of backing and see that support not only for Ollie but just the things Target’s been doing.”
In March 2018, when Ollie was less than a month old, the “Ollie’s World” page wrote:
Caudal Regression Syndrome (Sacral Agenesis) is very rare. This means that baby Oliver’s spinal cord did not fully develop. In Oliver’s situation, his spinal cord only developed to T12, which is approximately at the same level as the bottom of his ribcage. He is missing all of his Lumbar spine, his Sacrum and his Coccyx. His spinal cord is not connected to his legs and he is unable to move them or use them in any way. Oliver also has 3 holes in his heart and ectopic kidneys. At 23 days old, (32.4 weeks gestation) he is up to 2 lbs 13 oz!
We drive almost an hour each direction to the NICU so that we can spend as much of our waking moments with him, but this has come with a very large cost. In addition to Oliver’s medical expenses, our loss of income has been huge and it’s not ending anytime soon. Every donation is helping keep food on our table and a roof over our heads and the medical expenses grow bigger every day. If all goes well, he is expected to be in the NICU through May. We still have a very long road ahead of us after that! We are so grateful for everyone’s continued love and support! ♡