Super Bowl 50 ads feature people with disabilities

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Each year, millions of people around the world turn on their TVs on a February evening and take in some top-notch football when the best two teams in the NFL battle for the Super Bowl.

During the big game, hundreds of new commercials will air – some funny, others emotional, all trying to be memorable. A few commercials are already receiving rave reviews. Axe and Suntrust are two companies featuring people with disabilities in their ads which will air during Super Bowl 50.

“I think it’s great that people with disabilities are finally showing up in Super Bowl commercials,” said Doug Farley, the Museum of disABILITY History Director. “Through things like commercials, people will become more aware of the people around us that we may over look each day.”

“To see it on TV at such a national spotlight – a big national spotlight,” starts Christina McCormick “I think it’ll help educate people a little more.”

McCormick is hoping for that education because she’s seen what it’s like for someone living with a disability.

“It’s hard for some people,” said Connor, Christina’s 12-year-old son.

Connor has a few different disabilities including Tourette Syndrome, OCD and ADHD.

“He said kids were looking at him,” said Christina, remembering a moment that happened a few weeks ago in Connor’s middle school. “He said they were talking about me and he said I just feel like a big loser.”

Words a mother never wants to hear her son say.

“It’s really, really hard,” said Christina. “His tears are flowing’ mine are flowing.”

The McCormick’s find support through others with disabilities, like Susan Conners. She has Tourette Syndrome, too. She wasn’t diagnosed until she was 36-years-old and when she was, she formed an organization called Tourette Syndrome Association of Greater NY State. When it started, the group had seven members; today, there are more than 800 active families.

“Tourettes is one of those disorders that is not as well known and understood,” said Conners. “It has its ups and downs. It has its good days and bad days. I’ve had it for so many days now. It’s just part of me.”

She said she is excited for commercials featuring people with disabilities to debut during the Super Bowl.

“Any time we can incorporate people with disabilities into — I know a lot of shows have done it but the Super Bowl — that’s just such an opportunity.”

An opportunity this Western New York support community hopes will start conversations and garner acceptance for everyone living with disabilities.

“They’re [people with disabilities] maybe a little different but they’re just like you and me,” said Christina.

“We’re not defined by our disability,” said Conners. “We’re defined by who we are.”

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