A barrier coming Down: Minnesota toddler's appearance in Target ad a breakthrough


A Stillwater two-year-old with Down syndrome stepped into the role of trailblazer by posing for a photo with a toy.

Izzy Bradley's appearance in a print advertisement for retail giant Target is getting accolades from those who want America's retailers to help break down the stigma and fear around children with Down syndrome.

Izzy's mother, Heather Bradley, tells the Pioneer Press she and her husband thought Target's use of their daughter as a model could set a good example for other retailers.

Heather Bradley is the founder of Down Syndrome Diagnosis Network, which provides support to families that have received such a diagnosis.

She tells WCCO Izzy likes taking pictures and playing, so the Target photo shoot was a breeze: "She sat still while they did her hair and makeup. She pretty much cooperated the whole time,” Heather says.

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Izzy's appearance in the ad has gained lots of attention. People and Elite Daily both ran headlines hailing the "Adorable Toddler with Down Syndrome."

Katie Driscoll is co-founder of the group Changing the Face of Beauty, which encourages retailers to use people with disabilities in ads. Driscoll tells the Pioneer Press the world's largest minority is not rejected by the advertising world as much as it's invisible to them: "It's not that they want to exclude them; they're just not even on the table -- not even talked about," Driscoll says.

It should be noted that while Target's use of a model with Down syndrome is still noteworthy, it's not unprecedented. The Minneapolis-based company also did it a couple of years ago.

Meanwhile, FOX 9 has a story on a 26-year-old Wayzata woman with Down syndrome whose brisk business selling homemade holiday cards is keeping her busy.

Anna Rudick's mother tells FOX orders have come in from all 50 states and other parts of the world. To qualify for a state program that provides her with benefits, Anna cannot have assets of more than $2,000. So FOX says she's donated thousands of dollars to charity.

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Down syndrome is a genetic condition in which people are born with an extra chromosome, which alters their development. The severity of its symptoms vary from person to person. The Down Syndrome Society says 400,000 Americans have Down syndrome, making it the country's most common genetic disorder.

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