Mattel Manufacturing More Bald Chemotherapy Dolls For Children With Cancer

Helene Jangelin By Helene Jangelin, 29th Jun 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Health>Recovery & Coping

How a petition persuaded Mattel to make more Ella chemotherapy barbies, and how the Ella Doll can make a difference for childhood cancer patients

What is an Ella Doll

Ella is a limited-edition Cancer fighter, manufactured by Mattel to inspire children suffering from diseases like cancer and alopecia, which cause them to lose their hair. The doll comes with two wigs as well as scarves and other headwear, but it wears the same size as Barbie and can wear other outfits sold by Mattel. The dolls are donated to children's hospitals, where they are distributed to Children going through treatment.

How bald dolls bring joy to kids with cancer

When a child is going through cancer treatment, something so small as a bald barbie may seem insignificant, but everything that represents normality becomes infinitely important after such a serious diagnosis. Hospitalized children and adolescents are in a new and unfamiliar environment, surrounded by strangers, which in itself is a frightening and difficult experience. Many need to be treated in a hospital far away from home, and they sometimes have to be away from their family and friends for long periods of time. When they return home, children who are undergoing chemotherapy have to be protected because the drugs target healthy cells as well as cancer cells, including the White blood cells, that are responsable for fighting off infections. Because of their Low immunity, a common Cold is often enough to land cancer-fighting Children in the hospital between treatments, and even when they feel fine, they often need to be kept away from public places such as: schools, daycare centers, libraries, playgrounds, and any other Place where they could easily pick up an infection.
Cancer treatment can last for several years, and kids with cancer often more or less grow up in the hospitals instead. Chemo, surgery, radiation, blood tests, and hospital stays eventually become as "normal" as a trip to the grocery store, but even though Treatment becomes their "new normal", they still live with a lot of fear and frustration, and older Children constantly long for the Life they could have if they were cancer free.
It's easy to see how a toy could become more important than it normally would under such circumstances, and how anything with the potential to get a child's mind off of such a terrible experience would be of the greatest value.
this is where the Ella Dolls come in. Through their play and creative activities Children are able to work through their experiences and receive help in understanding in handling their reality - to have a barbie that resembles them, is something that can bring them a lot of joy during an awful time in their lives.

Ella Dolls may improve self esteem, depression and even cancer outcomes

Eighty percent of Children have advanced cancer at the time of diagnosis, and they need every single bit of their strength to win the battle. Having an Ella Doll will not only bring these Children hours of joy, it can also help them improve their self-esteem. It gives them the chance to play with a Barbie doll that is going through what they're going through - A doll who has lost her hair, and who still is Beautiful and smiling. In our society, children are very aware of their appearance from an early age, and losing their hair because of chemo may make them feel uggly, and depressed, something that at worst could influence their ability to fight off the cancer. In August 2012,A team of researchers led by Lorenzo Cohen, professor of general oncology and director of the Integrative Medicine Program at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, published a study in the journal Plos One, called Depressive Symptoms and Cortisol Rhythmicity Predict Survival in Patients with Renal Cell Carcinoma: Role of Inflammatory Signaling. The researchers found that symptoms of depression among a group of patients with late-stage renal cell carcinoma were associated with an increased risk of death. Other researchers have made similar discoveries. Anything therefore, that can help Children play away their fear, and that gives them a sense of being strong, and beautiful, could have a positive influence on the outcome of their treatment. According to a cancer mom, the Ella Doll also provides parents with a Beautiful way to break to their Children that chemotherapy may cause their hair to fall out, something that otherwise can be a difficult subject.

Mattel decides to donate more Ella dolls

After Melissa Bumstead, herself a Cancer mom, started a petition on Change.org, 103,450 people joined her in asking Mettel to make more Ella Dolls available. In May 2014, the Company agreed to make one for every Child going through chemotherapy. Mattel has decided to make the dolls annually, which means every year hospitals, charities, and foundations will receive a fresh supply of Ella Barbies to give out to Children in need. At present, there are not nearly enough Ella Dolls available for the 46 Children diagnosed with cancer every day in the United States, and even further from enough if one take into account how many Children who are currently battling cancer all over the World.
Mattel has vowed not to profit from the Ella doll. This is of course an admirable commitment,but it also means that many Children in need of a doll will miss out. The Company doesn't intend to advertise them, or sell them in stores, something that otherwise would have the potential to ensure that cancer fighting children all over the World would get the chance to play away their fears. Not to mention that It would enable all Children with a parent, or other family member diagnosed with cancer, to do the same.

Tags

Bald Dolls, Barbie, Cancer Treatment, Childhood Cancer, Coping With Chemotherapy, Ella Dolls, Kids With Cancer, Melissa Bumstead

Meet the author

author avatar Helene Jangelin
A freelance writer with a particular interest in Literature and linguistics. Sharing articles on Everything from parasports, and accessible games for the blind, to parenting, health, and green living.

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Comments

author avatar Colekdikit
16th Oct 2014 (#)


Your article is very good and so interesting to read. Thank you

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author avatar Helene Jangelin
16th Oct 2014 (#)

Thank you Colekdikit.

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