Thursday, May 28, 2015

Feel Better Friends

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Noah received a special doll from Feel Better Friends.   A Feel Better Friend is a handmade doll made from lots of love and well wishes that are made by volunteers donating their talent and time to bring smiles to children battling illnesses and disabilities. 

"In May of 2014 Shanon Fouquet, artits and designer from Shanonigans, came up with the idea when she saw a picture of a little girl, Berkeley who was battling cancer holding her American Girl doll.  Like most little girls who have this popular doll, Berkeley was “twinning”, or dressed identically with her doll.  Shanon looked at this particular photo of this brave little girl who was proud to be going ‘wigless’ to her doctor’s appointment that day, and Shanon couldn’t help but wonder if Berkeley would like for her doll to be able to go ‘wigless’ too.  It was then that Shanon decided to come up with a handmade doll created just for her with a wig and matching clothes that could go ‘wigless’ just like Berkeley!  Shanon had so much fun making Berekley’s doll that she decided to make more dolls for other children suffering from cancer and other illnesses, who would like the comfort of a Feel Better Friends doll custom made with their own likeness and characteristics. It was then that the FBF project was started and quickly grew and soon there were enough children wanting FBF dolls that Shanon couldn’t keep up.  She started a volunteer group of other crocheters who wanted to give just like Shanon.  Now with over 300 volunteers across the US and some in other countries there are children all around the world receiving the love and comfort of their very own FBF dolls."

Noah's doll artist, Amy Anderson reached out to us in early May to coordinate the details of Noah's doll.  It's so important to them to make them as closely as to the child as possible.  Some incorporate disability features like wheelchairs or walkers for their dolls, while others pick themes and incorporate their child's likes.  We had the choice between a wheelchair accessory and an interchangeable Mr. Tumble outfit.  The choice was not a hard one.  Right now Mr. Tumble is a huge part of Noah's life.  So we chose the Mr. Tumble outfit as an accessory for Noah's doll.  His doll was made super fast and in about two weeks arrived for him.  Noah adores his doll.  And Luke recognizes that it's a Noah's twin doll so he doesn't try to poach it from Noah.  It stays close by with him during the day and Noah does his best to wrap his arms around him. 

You can tell that a lot of love was poured into this doll.  It's a wonderful thing to find dolls that look like our children and represent them and their abilities.  Cognitively Noah understands quite well his environment and surroundings and the older he gets is becoming more aware of how different he is from most people.  Toys and dolls that resemble him I think help him identify that although maybe different from most that there is still someone like him - this sweet doll. 

A new movement has started with a compaign called Toy Like Me.  A petition calling to action to challenge more vendors to incorporate toys with disabilities into their line.  That could be simple things like a Lego set that you could build offering a disabled parking space or ramp, dolls that have a wide range of disabilities,  a Little People line that have wheelchairs and walkers.  Everyday toys that any parent like me can find at Target or Toys R Us that isn't going to cost us a fortune.  And these toys would be beneficial for typical children as well.  It opens the doors for questions and exposure to children of all abilities.  I'd even someday love to see larger motion picture movies start incorporating more characters with disabilities.  Anytime a large blockbuster movie comes out they inevitably have a toy line to accompany it.  But I have yet to find a movie that has a character with disabilities that finds it way to transforming into a toy that I'll eventually see in a Target isle.   We have a long way to go, but in the meantime I'm so grateful to Feel Better Friends for designing this very special doll for Noah.  A true keepsake that he'll have for years to come. 


Noah's Miracle by Stacy Warden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.