This young mom became emotional upon seeing dolls with Down syndrome for sale at her local Kmart store in Australia.
Brodee, 20, has a three-year-old son named Elijah, who was born with the condition. So when she got word of Kmart’s new toy collection, she rushed into the store to buy a couple for her kid.
“As soon as I saw these dolls, I became teary,” she said. “I felt such pride in Kmart for doing this, as I have the last few months after the release of different types of inclusive dolls and toys.”
Brodee took to Facebook to share her excitement about the newly-released dolls.
“Kmart you are the best,” she captioned her post, which showed a screenshot of the Baby Charlie with Down syndrome dolls available on Kmart’s website. The store sells each toy for $15.
In an interview with Yahoo Lifestyle, Brodee said she actually bought her cousin a doll with Down syndrome features in 2019. However, that one cost a lot more, retailing at $100. She’s glad to see that Kmart sells them for a lot cheaper because that means the toy will be bought more across Australia.
Brodee’s Facebook post quickly went viral, with hundreds of shoppers praising Kmart for their effort to be more inclusive.
“This is amazing. Well done to kmart for promoting diversity,” one said.
“This is absolutely fantastic that Kmart have finally bought these dolls out they are adorable,” another wrote.
This isn’t the first time that the mother-and-son duo made the headlines. Three years ago, they made the news when Brodee had to celebrate her Year 12 formal in the NICU with her baby.
Elijah needed surgery for duodenal atresia—a blockage in the bowel—after he was born. So, Brodee’s mom, Jodie, surprised her with a baby Elijah dressed in a tiny tux complete with a chocolate rose. Brodee herself got dressed up for the event, wearing a beautiful flowing black dress.
Now, the mom says she’s just glad to see stores like Kmart doing their part in promoting diversity.
Brodee said other kids have told Elijah that he looks “funny” and that they didn’t want to play with him because he’s “weird.”
“I’m hoping these dolls sitting beside everyday ‘typical’ dolls on the shelves will show children that we’re all the same, no matter disability, skin color, or even hair — we’re all the same but different in our own ways,” she said.
As for Elijah, he’s just so happy to play with dolls that look like him.
Brodee has been sharing videos of the toddler bonding with “Charlie” and “Heidi,” and the trio has been spending a lot of time together. Elijah likes cuddling with them on the couch, taking them around the house in the pram, and zooming with them on his mini slide at home.
Early last year, Kmart also received praise for selling inclusive toys when another mom took to Facebook to share photos of her son with a Kmart doll that is vision impaired, just like him.
“We want all of our customers (especially our littlest ones) to be able to find products they can truly relate to; and we’re committed to championing inclusion and diversity to make sure this happens,” John Gualtieri, Kmart Retail Director Australia & New Zealand, told Yahoo Lifestyle.
Brodee is also raising awareness about Down syndrome and sharing Elijah’s journey on The journey of T21 & a TeenMum Facebook page, which has 8,208 followers to date.
Thank you, Kmart, for supporting the representation of children with Down syndrome! Surely, these toys will warm the hearts of many people with this condition and their families.