Last November, Dylan Probe was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma, a type of bone cancer. As a result, the 10-year-old had to undergo chemotherapy and had her left leg amputated below the knee.
Following her surgery, Sherina Welch, who has been documenting the girl's journey through photographs in an attempt to raise awareness about childhood cancer, bought Dylan a gift: a doll who had a prosthetic left leg, just like she did. The video of Dylan receiving her doll was shared on the Love What Matters Facebook page, where it quickly went viral. Dylan loved her doll (though, she was equally excited about the doll's locket necklace as her prosthetic leg), who she named Hope.
What Dylan's story demonstrates is how important it is that kids have dolls and toys that are a reflection of them. It can be challenging to find dolls with disabilities, but toy companies are just beginning to fill the gap in the market and provide much-needed representation for disabled kids.
A Step Ahead, who provided Dylan's doll, modifies the dolls free of charge for children who have experienced limb loss. Last year, the Toy Like Me campaign went viral after people posted photos all over social media of children playing with the dolls that looked like them. American Girl, who makes an assortment of dolls with disabilities, told NPR that their doll who has Type I diabetes is constantly going in and out of stock. However, activists are still pushing for an American Girl doll who has a built-in backstory that includes a disability.
Sounds like Mattel, who discontinued Becky, Barbie's friend who uses a wheelchair, because she couldn't fit into Barbie's inaccessible dream house, could stand to take some notes from these other companies who are doing disabled dolls right — and doing right by disabled kids.
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