“The length of treatment for childhood cancer ranges from three months to five years. That is over 1,278 missed days to learn, explore, and play.”
The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia predicted that 11,000 children would be diagnosed with some type of cancer with about 1,300 dying from their disease in 2013 alone. Each year those numbers continue to rise. There are 40,000 cancer patients under the age of 19 being treated this year. Could you imagine being one of them?
In my life, I have known many adults that have been through cancer treatments, and I have seen how hard it is physically and mentally. Not only have I known many adults, but I have also known many children suffering from the dreaded disease. Personally, I cannot tell you how hard it is, but I can only imagine. The word “cancer” is hard enough to accept, but the treatments really test the mental state of the patient. Some children have known nothing but cancer because they have been sick for all of their life. Yet some children had a childhood before their life was taken over by cancer. I can see where going through not only cancer but also the treatments could be very lonely, and I’m sure there is not much time for playing, exploring, and learning. I’m sure at times cancer patients can use a little spirit lifting.
For most little girls Barbie is a role model to them. They want to be like Barbie, and they spend a lot of time playing with Barbie dolls. When a little girl is diagnosed with cancer, she will more than likely lose her hair from the treatments, and then she will feel like she cannot be like Barbie anymore. After losing their hair, little girls may have trouble realizing that they are still so beautiful even without their hair.
Mattel the toy company has produced a Chemotherapy Barbie named “Ella" after a mother of a little girl with cancer made an effort to have chemotherapy dolls made. A lot of encouraging was needed, but the doll was made to hopefully lift the spirits of little girls battling cancer. She has no hair, and she comes with a wig and other head-coverings so that the adolescent cancer patient can relate to her. The doll was a huge success and made it easier to have to go through these gruesome treatments. It shows little girls that they are beautiful even without their hair, and they can still be like Barbie.
The company agreed to make more chemotherapy dolls after 100,000 people signed a petition in three months. The first wave of chemotherapy Barbie’s should appear in August. Not only will Mattel make “Ella,” they will make an annual chemotherapy doll to help keep little girls spirits lifted. I feel like “Ella” and the future chemotherapy dolls will teach little girls battling cancer that they are beautiful in every way. The girls will be able to play with the doll and use it for support when she is going through the hardest times in her life. She may learn the art of giving back and explore new ways to do so just by what “Ella” has done for her.