A teenage girl named Chloe Newman, who is 18 years old, donated Barbies with prosthetic legs to a local hospital. Chloe, herself, was born without a leg so she knows darn well how it feels to navigate life without one of them. She has been living with a prosthetic leg as well for her whole life.
When she learned that Mattel had created a special Barbie for people like Chloe, she just had to make sure that other boys and girls like her would be able to have one, too. She would then donate more than 400 Barbie dolls with prosthetic legs to Shriners Hospitals for Children in Springfield, Massachusetts. She has received treatment there for years as well.
Chloe donates Barbies with prosthetic legs for kids just like her
“I think [the patients] would feel better about themselves,” Chloe tells WWLP. “That they would see, ‘Wow, they are making a Barbie like me, so why should I be ashamed of myself if there’s now toys like me?’ ”
Chloe was born with Amniotic Band Syndrome. This is a rare condition that causes strands of the amniotic sac to separate and entangle fingers, toes, limbs and other parts of the fetus. As a result of this, Chloe was born without her right leg. She receives a new prosthetic leg every year from Shriners’ Pediatric Orthotic and Prosthetic Services unit. She has been treated there every year since she was adopted from Kazakhstan as a baby.
How the idea began
Chloe’s mom, Cindy Newman, says that when her daughter decided she wanted to donate the Barbies with prosthetic legs, she immediately went to Walmart. However, she was only able to find four of the Barbie Fashionista #121 dolls. Following that, she would take to Facebook to solicit donations from friends and family. She hoped to reach 100 because that’s how many patients were receiving that type of care.
“If you’re out shopping, if you see five [dolls]. Get them and I’ll reimburse you,” the post says. The Newmans hit this goal within 24 hours of posting. However, they continue to receive the dolls well past the reached goal, including 200 dolls from Mattel themselves.
No Doll Left Behind
The 400+ batch of dolls were delivered this week! A press release says that the dolls will “serve as tools in therapeutic education and medical play for kids facing amputation to help explain their situation.” Any additional dolls left over will be sent over to the hospital’s 16 other Pediatric Orthotics and Prosthetics Services locations throughout the U.S.
“The whole point was to give back to Shriners because we’ve received so much,” Chloe’s mom says.
Mattel has been releasing many diverse versions of Barbie
Mattel originally releases the Fashionistas line earlier this year. It includes not only Barbies with prosthetic limbs, but also a Barbie in a wheelchair. Kim Culmone, Global Head of Design for Barbie, talks about this release.
“For 60 years, Barbie has been a reflection of culture and fashion and that is key to the brand’s continued relevance,” she says. “As we design Barbie for the next generation, we are focused on evolving to remain the most diverse doll line in the marketplace.”