MOORE, Okla. (KFOR) – A 1-year-old from Moore, Oklahoma, has gone viral on social media after seeing herself in the bright lights of the Big Apple.
Olivia Chandler was featured in a Down Syndrome awareness campaign in New York City last month.
“It was just amazing,” said Lori Orr, Chandler’s mother.
Orr told Nexstar’s KFOR she was scrolling through Facebook back in April when she stumbled upon an application for the National Down Syndrome Society’s Times Square Video Presentation and decided to enter Olivia.
Orr thought her daughter would be a shoo-in because of her irresistible smile.
“Everywhere we go, people say, you know, her smile makes me smile,” said Orr.
The annual presentation drew in about 2,400 entries from around the world. Those selected get their picture featured in an hour-long big screen presentation in the Big Apple.
“I entered her picture and then, you know, we waited and waited and waited,” said Orr.
After four months of waiting, Orr finally found out Olivia had been picked.
“I was just like, oh my gosh, oh my gosh,” said Orr. “As soon as we got the email, we were like, ‘We’re booking our flights right away. We’re going to go see this.’”
Without hesitation, the family of four took off to New York.
At last month’s presentation, Olivia was beaming ear to ear, per usual. The day also included a buddy walk through Central Park.
“Inclusion is so big in the Down Syndrome community, you know. Just seeing those kids on that big screen,” Orr explained. “It was just amazing.”
Olivia is always happy, despite having had an extremely challenging road, according to Orr. Her daughter spent about 7 months in the hospital after being born and has already undergone heart surgery. Being recognized in Times Square was exactly the kind of news the family needed.
“Something finally positive has happened over the last year, and, you know, it just felt great,” said Orr.
The picture of Olivia in front of the jumbotron has gone viral on Facebook. At last check, it had more than 255,000 likes.