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news item News Wednesday, October 16, 2019 Wednesday, October 16, 2019 3:00 PM - Wednesday, October 16, 2019 3:00 PM

Shriners Hospitals for Children receives hundreds of Barbie dolls with prosthetic legs from teen patient and Mattel

When 18-year-old Chloe, a longtime patient of Shriners Hospitals for Children, saw the Barbie® Fashionista™ #121 doll with a prosthetic leg, she was more than excited. “I really was like oh my gosh, oh my gosh, finally a doll representing that segment of the population!”

As a teen with a prosthetic leg, Chloe didn’t have a doll that looked like her while growing up, so she knew this would mean a lot to others with limb differences. She decided she wanted to collect as many of the dolls as she could for other kids at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Springfield in Massachusetts, where she has received prosthetic services since she was a toddler.

Chloe’s mom, Cindy, took to social media to ask friends and family to purchase the dolls as they found them, offering to pay. The request went viral and eventually Barbie herself got word of their efforts and replied to a tweet from Chloe’s brother who shared the story on Twitter. “The world needs #MoreRoleModels like Chloe. Sending a little something your way, @shrinershosp,” said the Tweet from Barbie. Donations poured in, filling Chloe’s dining room. No one asked to be reimbursed.

On Monday, Chloe and her mom delivered more than 400 of these special Barbie dolls – collected through family and friends – to the Springfield Shriners Hospital. Mattel, Inc., maker of Barbie, sent an additional 200 dolls to the hospital. Chloe was able to present one of the dolls to a fellow patient during her visit, and she says she hopes her donation will help other kids and teens with limb differences feel more confident.

The donated dolls will serve as tools in therapeutic education and medical play for kids facing amputation – and their siblings – to help explain their situation, says Brock McConkey, CPO, manager, Pediatric Orthotic and Prosthetic Services (POPS) — Northeast, LLC. McConkey is the prosthetist who has fabricated and fitted Chloe with her legs for most of her life, and the person she says inspired her to make the donation.

This generous gift will be shared with Shriners Hospitals for Children’s 16 POPS locations around the U.S., where our teams design and customize orthotics and prosthetic devices that are tailored to the unique needs of each patient. 

We are very grateful to Chloe, her mom, and the friends and families who supported these efforts, and to Mattel for their donation and their inclusive range of dolls to inspire kids like Chloe.

Chloe unloading Barbie dollsChloe in POPS department with staff member