Everyday Heroes

Amputee's Inspiring Cinderella Photo Shoot Goes Viral

When she saw that kids with disabilities had no heroes that looked like them, she knew she could make a difference.

Almost every little girl wants to be a princess when she grows up. But what happens when none of the heroes of your favorite fairy tales look like you?

As a child, Mandy Pursley often asked herself the same question. Pursley was born without a right arm, and while her face would light up when she would see amputee baseball player Jim Abbott on TV, she never saw women without limbs portrayed as normal, beautiful or strong.

When her daughter recently started learning about Cinderella in school, she felt it was the perfect opportunity to be a role model for other children who may feel the same way she did.

"Representation is so powerful," Pursley told Insider . "It is so much easier to believe in yourself when you are able to see people who look like you achieving the same dreams that you have. People who have differences really just want to feel included and accepted without feeling the need to hide what makes them unique."

Pursley loves to sew, so she got to work creating her own Cinderella gown, complete with a glass arm prosthetic. She worked with a few other artists to pull the different pieces of the costume together and she hired photographer Kelly Anderson to capture the finished project. She staged a photo shoot where her husband, who she refers to as her "real Prince Charming," and her acted out some of the story's famous scenes.

The aim of the project was to enter a costume competition, but when the deadline for the contest passed, Pursley decided to share the photos anyway, for a good reason.

She posted the photos to Facebook with the following caption,

"After a medical fiasco kept me from competing at a costume competition this summer, I was going to keep these photos under wraps for another year to try again. But a friend asked me today if I had any pictures I could share with a little girl who was born with one arm, and I realized that we never know what the future may hold...but we can still bring joy to people today!"

The result was a flood of tearful comments and heart emojis, but Pursley says her favorite part was seeing the photos and comments from amputee children, who she referred to as "all these little 'lucky fin' princesses and princes."

She encouraged others to shower these kids with all the love too because they are adorable and awesome exactly the way they are!

Due to the overwhelming success of her Cinderella costume project, Pursley created a new Facebook page called "Be the Spark Cosplay," which she'll use as a platform to "use cosplay and art as a means to highlight the beauty of our differences." She already has plans to create more adaptive costumes and designs soon.

Check out Be the Spark Cosplay on Facebook!

Do you know of a hero that deserves to be celebrated? Sign up and sign in to tell the world all about it. Let's "Start something good" together.

(Source: images Mandy Pursley Facebook )

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