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The Story Of A Cinderella Costume With A Twist Goes Viral

The costume, created by an Oceanside woman who was born without an arm, has inspired children and people with limb differences

Mandy Pursley and her husband, Ryan, as Cinderella and Prince Charming in thi...

Credit: Kelly Anderson

Above: Mandy Pursley and her husband, Ryan, as Cinderella and Prince Charming in this undated photo.

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The costume, created by an Oceanside woman who was born without an arm, has inspired children and people with limb differences.

Aired: October 2, 2019 | Transcript

Mandy Pursley was born without an arm and says she struggled sometimes as a child to fit in.

"When I was growing up, I rarely saw anyone who looked like me on television ... I still had never seen amputee women being portrayed as beautiful or strong, so I think it took me a really long time to recognize that the things that make us different and unique can actually be really positive traits," said the Oceanside woman.

After spending her childhood bouncing around the country with her father who was a pastor, Pursley eventually settled down in Florida after graduating from college. There, she met her husband, Ryan Pursley, while he was visiting for a weekend.

Ryan, who was living in San Diego and working in the Marines Corps flew Mandy to California to attend the Marines Corps ball. The couple fell in love, got married and had a baby girl.

Photo credit: Kelly Anderson

Mandy Pursley and her husband, Ryan, as Cinderella and Prince Charming in this undated photo.

"I'm so fortunate that I found my own Prince Charming, he's so sweet and accepting and supportive in real life too," she said.

Ryan bought Mandy a sewing machine and she began making costumes for her daughter and her friends. Recently, she was inspired after reading Cinderella stories to her daughter to make one of her own.

"My daughter had been studying Cinderella stories at school and I realized that there were all these beautiful tales from around the world, but there were still no princesses who looked like me so I just had the thought, if this character doesn't exist I'm going to create her," she said.

She spent 60 hours creating a Cinderella ballgown and another forty creating one for Ryan. She wasn't exactly sure what she wanted to do with it all, but she knew she wanted to highlight and celebrate her difference.

She decided that instead of a glass slipper, her Cinderella would have a glass arm. After telling friends about her plan, she got in touch with a sculptor in Arizona who took one of her prosthetic arms and created a glass-looking one out of clear resin. She posted the pictures on her Facebook page and overnight, the post went viral with thousands of "likes".

Reported by Priya Sridhar , Video by Matthew Bowler

"I've actually been amazed that everyone has been so positive and encouraging," she said. "It's kind of scary to just put yourself out there on the internet like this, but it's been incredible how everyone has just had positive messages to convey."

Ryan says all of this couldn't be happening to a more deserving person.

"I'm very proud of her, definitely. She deserves it. She's a very sweet person. She's a very compassionate person for people," he said.

Many has created a new Facebook page called: Be the Spark Cosplay where she's invited her followers to share their own stories about celebrating their differences.

"I began to realize this is something really special and I at least wanted kids who were like me, who had some physical difference or limb difference to be able to see it to maybe inspire them that they can be the hero of their own story too," she said.

Listen to this story by Priya Sridhar.

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