Little Ella was born with a condition that paralyzed her from the waist down. She was ecstatic to receive a Barbie doll that uses a wheelchair - just like her!
It can be difficult to grow up as a girl and not see anything in pop culture that even slightly resembles you. Whether it's on TV, in movies, or your toys, being anything other than tall, white, skinny, and abled probably meant you didn't have many role models as a young girl. However, things are thankfully changing. Recently, two-year-old Ella Rogers was overjoyed when she received a Barbie doll that looked exactly like her, Good Morning America reports. Little Ella was born with spina bifida, a birth defect that happens when the spine and spinal cord do not form properly. Therefore, this moment was incredibly special for the toddler.
Barbie gets more diverse with a new wheelchair update! A lot of children will be really happy to see this in their future campers, Dreamhouses and other Barbie homes!! https://t.co/GORleWaUKC pic.twitter.com/4iOrzmXlM8— MoveMobility (@mobility_move) March 6, 2020
The moment was captured by her parents, mom Lacey, and dad Bobby. Due to Ella's condition, she is paralyzed from the waist down and has to use a wheelchair. To her amazement, the Barbie doll she was gifted uses a wheelchair as well. The doll quickly became her favorite toy. In a video recorded by her mother, Ella can be seen playing and interacting with her new Barbie doll, having the time of her life. She's also grinning ear to ear. The mother explained how important the doll was to her daughter in an interview with Good Morning America. "She adores it," Lacey said. "It's a Barbie that's just like her. It's special because she can relate... They went as far to make the brakes actually work on the wheelchair which astounds me."
Lacey was told her child would be born with spina bifida when she was 24 weeks pregnant. The Rogers were supposed to have twins, but lost the baby one week before Lacey was set to give birth. It was, as you would assume, a painful experience. "It was surreal because we were having twin girls," she said. "We were excited. Then when we lost her sister and my pregnancy kind of went downhill after there. I was afraid I'd lose [Ella] too." Thankfully, Ella survived and was born on August 3, two years ago. In addition to spina bifida, the little girl was also diagnosed with Chiari malformation. This is a condition wherein brain tissue extends into the spinal canal, which delays speech. At present, Ella is able to communicate through sign language. She regularly receives speech, physical, and occupational therapy.
Despite all the medical challenges adorable Ella has faced, she is still the "happiest baby" ever according to her mom. Lacey explained, "She brings so much joy to so many people. She's very sweet, very easy going." The mother shared the heartwarming video of Ella playing with her new Barbie doll by Mattel, the company which produces the doll the toddler plays with. Her mother said, "I was just thanking them for the inclusion of my daughter." Now, Ella loves playing with her doll alongside her brother Zachary. The two, like any pair of siblings, have the grandest time playing with each other. Hopefully, this powerful story encourages more toy brands to create inclusive and diverse toy dolls.