With a contagious smile, St. Pete man with Cerebral palsy becomes model for Florida beachwear company

Marilyn Brettner beams when talking about her son Andrew as she takes him to one of his favorite spots: Treasure Island.

"We've been here our entire lives so he likes to be out. He just loves the beach and the sand and the shells," Marilyn told FOX 13. "He just likes to stay in the water and the waves and I think that brought a calmness to him as well."

Andrew is 25 years old, has Cerebral palsy, and is confined to a wheelchair. But what you see even before the wheelchair is his smile.

"Everyone loves it when Andy smiles. He loves to smile," Marilyn explained. "They comment on his smile and how it lights up a room. It does light up a room. He's just always happy!"

"Are you always happy?" she asked. 

"Yeah!" Andrew said. "I like my teeth."

Credit: Help Us Gather

Andrew works with HUG, 'Help Us Gather,' which advocates for the inclusion of people with disabilities.

They did a photo shoot in 2019, and those pictures led him to become the next model for Surf Style.

Credit: Jessica McKnight Photography

"Proud moment and it brings tears to my eyes to know that Andy will get out there and do things and represent others out there who are in a wheelchair or with limited access," Marilyn said. "They can see that you can go out to the beach and wear the latest beach clothes and you can be a part of it."

RELATED: Florida beachwear company features model with Down Syndrome for the first time

The pictures will be coming out at a later date and will be seen inside their stores, including their flagship on Clearwater Beach.

"When I first saw...the press release and what they did out here I cried. I just said, ‘Andy, look! Look! I'm so proud of you, I'm so proud of you and all that you can do!’" Marilyn recalled. "Andy is an amazing person and he deserves every bit of this."

Back in 2019, then-16-yeart-old Ethan Holt, who has Down syndrome, became a Surf Style model. Since then, he has gone on to book numerous modeling gigs.
LINK: If you're interested in learning more about Help Us Gather, head over to the organization's website