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.
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This little guy touched me...maybe because I see my own son. Maybe because he's so darn cute. Maybe because I never want any small person to feel sad.
His mom wrote a note that I am sharing (with her permission) because I think it explains what your role is in getting these dolls into the arms where they belong.
A few weeks ago, we contacted A Doll Like me to create a Doll just like our son, who was born with a rare condition. Zachariah has known nothing but love and support and has never been made to feel he is different, however as he ages we noticed he has started to notice his physical differences. So when we found A Doll Like Me it was perfect! She created a Doll fit purely for our Zachariah! Zachariah received the doll and was ecstatic! Once he opened it, it was like it was customized exactly for him, The doll had his favorite color clothes, a pajama set, glasses, blanket and hospital gown! The first words were look mom he has a hospital gown just like me! As a parent that sentence was one of the hardest you hear in your life when you strive to make your child as normal as possible! It was a complete relief that Zachariah has something that looks just like him right down to his facial features and scars and it makes him feel comfortable and want to take care of the doll because it is a part of him! The amount of love that went into creating a doll fit exactly for Zachariah is phenomenal! We couldn’t have asked for anyone more caring to create something so special for us but, that is not where the love ends. Some generous kind hearted person sponsored our look alike doll for Zachariah, which is one of the nicest, amazing things that could have been done for Zach. Receiving a doll that was sponsored, to us meant that someone else cares about our struggle and fight to provide Zach with a lifelong comfort item. This act of kindness and Generosity goes so far into our hearts and will help shape the way we view others. Thank you to A Doll Like Me, and our Sponsor that made this a reality!
The media coverage is exciting and with it I have received a flood of requests for dolls...so much so that there's a wait list to even answer emails! For the first time, I have some extra money to pay someone to help me with messages. For the first time, I have the money to be able to tell these families that someone has paid for their doll. I feel a little bit like Oprah must feel when she gives away cars - except dolls are WAY more fun than that! If only you could be on the receiving end when parents write (through tears) how grateful they are for the kindness of strangers. In a world where strangers can be so unkind to children (yes, even children) with differences, you are stepping up in an amazing way and showing something different. It's hard to even put into words how powerful that is.
Because of you, this doll is on her way to the arms of a little girl who has been diagnosed with a very rare form of cancer. Physically she will offer comfort and help this little girl play through some of this stuff that turned her world upside down. Even more, you will provide her parents with assurance and kindness.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Here’s how I answered - because these aren’t “just dolls.” Each doll represents a person and a wonderful story. So no....the novelty hasn’t worn off. I think that when it does, it’s time to stop!
Her follow up question was - how do you separate yourself and your emotions from the dolls and the people they represent?
This, my friends, is my greatest asset and my greatest liability. I don’t separate and I like to think that’s what makes these special. As a result, I think about these little people a lot.
This doll was incredibly hard to make.
He isn’t FOR a child...he’s the memory of one. He’s going to this boy’s mama because her friend wanted her to have something to hold when she thought about him (shouldn’t we all have a friend like that?). Luke died after his fourth relapse with cancer - an ependymoma brain tumor.
He would be the same age as my oldest. I look into his face and see my own son’s. This was a very difficult doll to make. He was purchased by a sweet angel who is a stranger to this mom...because isn’t it our moral responsibility to support one another?
I pray that this doll not only brings comfort, but represents a tangible form of support and kindness. And I hope that it shows us the importance of reaching out ❤️ Thank you once again for sharing this view...it impacts people in more ways than you know.
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!
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
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
I know this might get lost in the comments but if you get the chance to check out my campaign. I really want to make a difference in this world and help a lot of people. I hope you guys can give me an opportunity thank you ❤️
Beautiful person & beautiful soul!!
!!!! guys please help me out you can find me when searching “Haley Elisa” or “help me reach my goal for my sister, could really use the help God bless
Amy Following on Facebook about two. precious little girls that have cancer do you do any dolls like that
Please don't send this guy money! It's a scam. Paypal.me/rahulecom1996 I see he has commented on this and is asking for money through a Paypal link.
Can you make one for a little girl who has cerebral palsy and has been in the hospital not doing so well she finally started to show some light and doing well today.
Amy,thank you for all you do for these children. You are a blessing.