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Two Ontario kids win GapKids contest

Nadine Bells
Shine On
July 31, 2012

Two cute Ontario kids beat out more than 400,000 entrants from across North America to win GapKids' sixth annual casting call, reports the Toronto Star.

It was the first year Canadians were allowed to enter the contest.

More than 418,000 votes were cast online to choose the four winners. Taylor Young, 6, from Barrie and Liam Hadfield, 11, from Waterfield, made the cut.

The contest wasn't just looking for photogenic kids, it was seeking kids with character. Parents had to answer the question, "How does my child brighten the world?"

Also see: Bullied teen, Nadia Ilse, receives free plastic surgery from charity

Taylor win was as a surprise to her mom, Kate. Taylor was born with symbrachydactyly, a rare congenital abnormality that left the joints in her hands fused and her fingers webbed, the Toronto Star reports.

"We tell her she's just a little different and that's good,"  says Kate. "She's also sweet and sensitive to other people's feelings. This will be such a boost to her confidence."

Liam's mother, Jennine, entered him with a poem about her handsome son's gentle spirit — and his desire to grow his hair to donate it to cancer patients.

Liam tells The Hamilton Spectator that he feels "proud, surprised, happy," about his win.

Also see: Working Late Into Pregnancy Just as Harmful as Smoking

Taylor and Liam each won a $10,000 grant from Pathways to Education — and a back-to-school-friendly $1,000 gift card to the Gap.

The two kids have already been featured in the company's "Shine On" fall campaign on the company website.

As part of the campaign, call finalists are paired with other kids making a difference: a ballerina, comedian, DJ, violinist and anti-bullying advocate.

"'Shine On' exemplifies what it means to be bright by bringing together a group of exceptional children and empowering them to impact the world in a positive way," says Gap's global chief marketing officer, Seth Farbman.

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