Chemotherapy Barbie dolls give young cancer patients a lift - News, Weather and Classifieds for Southern New England

Chemotherapy Barbie dolls give young cancer patients a lift

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Ella, a chemotherapy Barbie is bald and wears wigs and she's bringing some comfort to Grace Bumstead, age 4 who has a rare form of leukemia.

Grace will endure high doses of chemotherapy during the next year and a half. Her mom, Melissa Bumstead says, "She's been amazingly brave. And we're very, very proud of her. It's not where we expected to be in life right now."

One of the hardest adjustments has been losing Grace's blonde curls, but that's where Ella came in.  Now Ella is part of what the family calls Grace's "inner circle of Barbies," alongside Ariel and Rapunzel.

Grace's mom had 6 dolls to hand out at Children's Hospital Los Angeles so she created a petition to ask Mattel to make more. In just three months, that petition had more than 100,000 supporters.

Mattel took notice, contacting Grace's mom and agreeing to make more Ella dolls and to distribute to children's hospitals throughout the country.

Grace's oncologist, Dr. Paul Gaynon, said she has a 75 percent chance of being cured. "But the big issue is psychosocial. how will she view herself? How will she view the world when she grows up? Will she be afraid of the whole world because she thinks that leukemia will come back at any minute and end her life?"

Grace's family believes Ella will help remind the young girl of the struggle she overcame and hopefully will never revisit.

Mattel told the Bumstead family that they plan to distribute the Ella dolls in August. The company plans to make new ones every year.

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