21 Jan 2019, Meredith Jones Russell
CAN YOU TELL US A BIT ABOUT FRANKIE?
Three-year-old Frankie started with us in September. As the result of a rare condition called neurofibromatosis, Frankie has had her lower left leg amputated. I noticed very early on that she really gravitated towards the dolls in the nursery, but none of them looked like her, which was really sad. I went home and spoke to my husband and we decided to see if we could find a doll for her. We looked online for dolls with prosthetic legs, or ways of modifying them, but we couldn’t find anything. Hospitals and universities all said they had faced the same problem.
HOW DID YOU FINALLY FIND A DOLL?
I did a lot of searches on YouTube and finally found some videos by an American company called A Step Ahead Prosthetics, which offers prosthetics to people with limb loss and makes doll prosthetics too. They said they would fit a prosthetic to a doll’s left leg, just like Frankie, for free if we could get the doll to them.
HOW DID YOU GET THE DOLL?
A girl in the US kindly offered to donate us her doll, but we still had to find $249 to ship it back because of tax. We told our nursery parents and they held a cake sale and raised the money in a day. The doll arrived on Christmas Eve and Frankie was absolutely overjoyed, and her mum was the same. It has definitely helped to boost her confidence a lot.
WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT TO SPREAD THE WORD ABOUT THIS?
It is so important that all children are represented in the toys in early years settings. If Frankie’s leg falls off in the nursery, children will give it back to her. They don’t think twice about it at this age, but that might change when she goes to school. We want to put the word out about how important it is for all children to see disability represented in the dolls and toys they play with.