Seven-year-old Abby Scott of Chicago has cerebral palsy. Despite her age, she has already been brutally confronted with the stigma of her disorder, patch.com reports.
When local businessman Steve English heard this in August 2012, he knew his organization could help, he told the news outlet. Within a few weeks, thanks to the Changing the Face of Beauty campaign, the young girl was on the cover of Chicago Parent Magazine.
English, who had adopted and raised a son who had a congenital heart defect, had recently partnered with Katie Driscoll, a local photographer, and started Changing the Face of Beauty-- a photo campaign with the goal of integrating children with disabilities into general advertising, according to its official website.
“I thought it would be interesting to take a child that was not considered beautiful by society’s standards or children who were treated as invisible and photograph them for ads,” English told patch.com.
Driscoll, who has a daughter with Down syndrome, sees the initiative as a small step towards a big societal change. The campaign works with small businesses to get photos of children with disabilities in their marketing materials, Driscoll described in a blog post for mariashriver.com.
“Advertising has such a large impact on our feelings, our decisions and even how we choose to live our lives. We live in a visual world and I believe people in our society will be more accepting of all types of individuals if marketing initiatives are more open to including everyone,” Driscoll wrote in a blog post.
So far, the campaign has more than 150 models and 21 photographers, Driscoll told ABC7 News.
But the campaign’s success is not measured by its finances. “We do not make money with this,” English told the Southtown Star. “We don’t want a side show. I am about integration and would like to see the South Side as a community get behind this and have businesses embrace it,” he told the news outlet.
Driscoll sees the campaign as an advocacy project for children with disabilities, she told the Southtown Star.
“I felt it was my duty to help pave the way to an even more accepting world for my daughter. A world where she could walk down the street and people would wave hello instead of look away or stare,” Driscoll wrote in a blog post.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story stated Toys "R" Us and Infantino Toys used campaign photos.