A little girl has had a heartwarming reaction to the announcement of Woolworths’s newest collectable promotion.
The girl’s mother took to Instagram to share her daughter’s "thrilled" reaction to the retailer’s Aussie Heroes collectables.
The Instagram post shows the seven-year-old girl, Mia Stewart, wearing a prosthetic leg brace.
She is smiling in front of a Woolworths Aussie Heroes banner that features a photograph of Paralympic swimmer Ellie Cole.
“MUMMMM she has a leg like ME!” the photo’s caption reads.
“You have no idea how excited Mia was when she saw Ellie Cole at Woolworths today! She was beyond thrilled!”
Mia’s Instagram biography states that Mia suffers from PFFD (Proximal Femoral Focal Deficiency) and has had rotationplasty surgery.
Mia’s Instagram post has attracted dozens of supportive comments.
“Representation matters,” one person wrote.
“What a gorgeous inspirational lady you are Mia,” said another.
The supermarket’s newest collectable promotion celebrates Australian Olympic and Paralympic athletes in collectable stickers that customers earn with selected purchases.
A Woolworths spokesperson has told Yahoo News Australia that they are "moved" by Mia’s story.
“Our goal with this collectable is to celebrate some of Australia’s greatest athletes and future champions, as well as inspire younger generations to live active and healthy lifestyles,” the spokesperson said.
"We were moved by Mia's story and her excitement to see Ellie in the collection.
"Ellie exemplifies what the Aussie Heroes collection is all about and we'll be cheering her on as she competes in the Tokyo Paralympics!"
Sports heroes respond to ‘inspiring’ photo
Ms Cole, who is a Paralympic gold medalist, has shared Mia’s story on her Instagram page, attracting dozens of supportive comments from other athletes.
Sharing the same photograph of Mia next to Ellie’s Aussie Heroes banner, Ellie wrote: “This is why we do what we do. My heart.”
Mia’s mother responded to the post, saying that Mia has been avidly collecting the Aussie Heroes stickers, hoping to get one of her favourite Paralympian.
“I’m not allowed to shop anywhere else until she gets an Ellie,” the mother wrote.
Ellie told News.com.au that Mia’s photograph “really hit in the heart strings.”
“When I was her age, I didn’t have any Paralympic role models, I didn’t even know that people with disabilities could play sport,” she said.
Ellie’s Instagram post has attracted an outpouring of support from fellow Australian athletes, who have posted heartwarming comments in response to Mia’s reaction.
“This is what humanity should be about, you're an inspiration to those who are para athletes, athletes and the entire community,” posted Olympic swimmer Ian Thorpe.
“This is such an amazing image - how special,” said Olympic canoeist Jessica Fox.
“Could not love this more,” commented Olympic swimmer Giann Rooney.
Ryley Blatt, a Paralympic rugby player, also reacted to the image with love heart emojis, whilst the Australian Paralympics Instagram account commented “we love this”.
The post has also received support from Paralympian Katie Kelly, Olympic diver Annabelle Smith, pro golfer Craig Spence, gold medal skier Lydia Lasila, BMX champion Saya Sakakibara and sports reporter Abbey Gelmi.
Woolworths’s Instagram account also commented on the post saying: “this is what we love to see, truly inspiring Ellie!”
Little girl’s ‘exciting’ opportunity following social media post
Following her inspiring reaction to inclusivity in Woolworths’s new collectable campaign, Mia has been given the opportunity to meet her idol.
Mia’s mother posted on Instagram on Monday, stating that Mia was “nervous but excited” to meet her Paralympic role model Ellie Cole.
A clip from the morning broadcast shows Mia smiling broadly as she meets Ellie via a virtual connection.
Ellie speaks to Mia about her inspirational post, and gives some advice for the future.
“Understand that you are unstoppable and just go for anything that you want to,” she told Mia.
Host Richard Wilkins asks Mia if she’d like to be an Olympic swimmer like Ellie when she grows up, to which Mia enthusiastically replies "yes".
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