A Doll Like Me
In my life pre-children, I was a social worker in a pediatric oncology unit. In my time working with the kids, I used dolls in play therapy to help the children express themselves. Dolls are therapeutic in so many ways - ways that I'm not sure we fully understand. It is a human likeness and by extension, a representation of the child who loves it.
One day I realized that the dolls’ thick hair and perfect health were doing the kids I was working with a disservice as they were often faced with a wide variety of physical challenges. Many kids have never have had the opportunity to see their sweet faces reflected in a doll. It's hard to tell a child that they are beautiful but follow it with - but you'll never see yourself in anything that looks like you.
About four years ago, I was making non-traditional Raggedy Ann dolls. My favorite was a Raggedy Ann for a little girl who was transitioning - green cropped hair and a Ninja Turtle outfit! A friend of a friend saw it and shared him. A woman whose daughter had just had a leg amputated reached out and asked if I could make a doll for her. It was like lightning in a jar. In the past four years, I’ve personally made over 300 dolls and there are a lot of people still on the waitlist. This is where you come in!
Typically, parents or caregivers pay for the dolls - about $100 with shipping per doll. When they can’t afford it, I’ll find a way to cover it myself. Whatever it costs, whatever I have to do, I’m going to get a doll in the hands of these children. This isn’t just a business. It’s the right thing to do.
Doll-making has allowed me to combine my love of dolls with my passion for social work. I have always been disappointed in the lack of diversity in dolls. So, as my mom taught me, if you don't like it, do something about it!
I have partnered with a children's hospital to identify kids who might benefit from having a doll for comfort as they go through their medical care. The money raised here will help me do that. Funds raised will be used to pay for materials and shipping to cover the cost of dolls for those who can’t afford it. Any remaining funds will be used towards turning A Doll Like Me into an official non-profit organization.
Ultimately, I don’t want any parent to have to pay for something that’s so important. If we’re going to look at mental health as a necessary part of medical care, this is key. If you want validation and play therapy, you need these dolls. My ultimate goal is to fulfill every doll order that comes in and not have the families have to pay for it.
I appreciate you reading the story of A Doll Like Me, and I wish you fulfillment in your life no matter what the challenge.
Facebook | Video | Website
- Amy Jandrisevits
This is one of the dolls that has stayed with me because the story of her little girl is one that is heavy with hope and anticipation, and also heartache and grief. This little one is waiting for a heart transplant and she has spent most of her short life in the hospital. She has a complicated medical history and her parents call her a warrior. I agree.
I am grateful to all of the hands involved in making this doll. From the kind strangers who bought this for a child they’ve never met...the quilter who sent a doll blanket so that the doll can be wrapped in love...the seamstress who is making matching outfits for the doll and her girl...and the quilter who made a tiny sized hospital gown.
This is the essence of what it means to be a village. When one of ours needs lifting up, it’s just what we do ♥️. People who support this labor of love are some of the nicest in the world!
Remember when you see these dolls, that behind each one is an incredible story of a little person who deserves the best of all of us.
Thank you once again.
Is a doll the magic fix-it? No. Unfortunately. But in times like this, comfort trumps everything else. And as an added bonus...I get to tell these families that someone (not them) paid for it. You have to understand how important the kindness of strangers is at a time when families feel very alone. You cannot underestimate that power that you have.
My plan with my GoFundMe campaign is to squirrel away as much as I can, so that over the course of the next few years I have the ability to offer this to families. I always say that dolls are a very tangible form of "kindness". It's something we can offer kids to make a direct impact in their lives for a variety of reasons.
I wanted to attach a recent interview that I did because it was done question/answer style...so I had the chance to script the narrative of these dolls - because I wrote it! I think it gives a good update on where things are now. It was done for a youth magazine, so it also engages young people in this discussion...because let's face it, those are the ones who we are counting on making a difference in this world!
Thank you again for all of your support...for donating because you believe in the power of dolls...for honoring someone special...and for using this to create a legacy for someone you miss.
There have been a number of other amazing media pieces about the dolls, including The Today Show and Steve Harvey (who does a shoutout to the dolls at the end of his show today 4/8/19). I am THRILLED and a bit surprised at how quickly this has all happened.
My orders have increased exponentially and that means that some of the time sensitive ones have also. On my dining room at this very moment are two dolls heading to kids in hospice and, because of YOU, the families can feel and see what kindness looks like. For that I am grateful and humbled. Thank you for allowing me to tell families that these have already been paid for...and thank you for allowing families to experience love and acceptance from strangers.
I believe that true empathy is being so moved by these stories that we are called to do something - obviously you feel the same way because you have supported this mission. These stories aren't easy to forget.
Thank you so much for your continued support.
Hi Amy. First, I want to thank you for putting your time & money, and heart, into making all of these! I can’t imagine how many children out there would love, & benefit from these dolls! Second, I wanted to know if I am misunderstanding something you wrote in the original story, regarding the “little girl who was transitioning”. I consider this to mean that this little girl, whether it be by name, how she would dress, or (god forbid) surgery., is actually going through some type of a sex change to become a little boy? Is this correct? You obviously have no obligation to respond, but I’d definitely appreciate it if you did. Thanks!
Hello, can you send these special dolls to England? My son has a birthmark on his head since birth, he's 1 years old now and just a beautiful boy inside and out, but people can be so cruel and hurtful with their comments (I've shed a few tears). If you could get back to me I would love to have one of your dolls for my son. Kind regards Claire x
Hello...I think what your doing is soo inspirational and making such a difference to those children. I would like to know how I can go about ordering a doll for my daughter...I am happy to pay. She lost all her hair due to Alopecia and it is very difficult finding dolls that look like her. Thanks x
Pls help us to raise fund for my gf .. she is suffering from lgmd limbe girdle mascular dystrophy .. may be next yr gene therapy will be the cure for all mascular dytrophies ... we don' t have much money to go for it .. I can send u all the reports bt pls help us .. my name is mayank sharma from india my gf name is rama sharma she lives in dehradun uttrakhand my paypal link is Paypal.me/rahulecom1996 Pls help us pls
Beautiful person & beautiful soul!!
Oh my goodness this is such an amazing thing you are doing. I was beyond thrilled to contribute to this wonderful task you have taken upon yourself. This doll is just so sweet and yes, when we see these dolls it does remind us that there is a story of an amazing little person that goes with them. God Bless you. and the work you are doing. The world needs more of you!!
HI AMY , HOW WOULD I BE ABLE TO PURCHASE A DOLL FOR MY NIECE SHE HAS ARTHOGRYPOSIS. I AM VERY INTERESTED THANK YOU
I haven't had any luck with this go fund me doesn't help that not computer savvy but please help me pay it forward by sharing wwwgofundmecom/72e7weo ..PLEASE HELP ME GET THE FIRST DONATION AND CHANGE SOMEONE'S LIFE!!!!
please help my puppy with her cancer treatments❤️ https://paypal.me/pools/c/8doEDjEPCn
I had a black baby doll when I was little.(I a, white). She looked like me, and she was black......I loved her, and I loved that my parents wanted me to have her.