For most young girls, part of the childhood experience is having a doll to play with. They dress them up, they create scenes and experiences from their own life, or whatever their imagination can conjure. The doll becomes an extension of the girl who plays with it.
But it’s not always the case that the doll is exactly like the girl who plays with it. Sometimes the doll’s life is a tad bit more perfect than the young girl’s.
Thirteen-year-old Anja Busse loves to play with her American Girl Doll. But unlike her doll, Anja is diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
“I have two American Girl dolls, but there’s no diabetic supplies so they look just like me,” she said in a video from January 2014. “It’s very weird for me because I want my dolls to look just like me.”
So, alongside her mother, Ingrid, she started a petition addressed to the makers of American Girl Dolls asking them to include an insulin pump and diabetes accessories as part of the kits that come along with the dolls.
“I know if they do this, it’ll make thousands of diabetic girls happy,” Busse said in the video.
It took over two years and about 4,000 signatures, but American Girl finally paid attention to the clamor. The Diabetes Care Kit for Dolls became available for purchase in stores and online for $24 as of January 1.
The new diabetes kit includes insulin pump, glucose meter, lancing device, insulin pen, glucose tablets, medical alert bracelet, insulin pump skin stickers, diabetes log book, and a bag.
Diabetic American Girl, a Facebook page set up by Busse and her mother as a platform for their cause, has been flooded with stories and photos by other families who want to express their gratitude for the ground-breaking effort.
One mother shared a photo accompanied by a story of how her daughter reenacted learning she was diagnosed with diabetes.
Former Miss America and type 1 diabetic Nicole Johnson shared a pic of her buying the American Girl Doll with the Diabetes Care Kit for her daughters.
Statistics from Diabetes.org state that in 2012, 29.1 million Americans, or 9.3 percent of the population, had diabetes and that approximately 1.25 million American children and adults have type 1 diabetes.
By paying attention to Busse’s petition, American Dolls not only changed the game for toy making, but they also made their iconic dolls more relatable and valuable to the children who grow up with them. Kids across America are probably feeling a little better about themselves or less alone in what they’re going through now that these kits are out there.
Like Diabetic American Girl’s Facebook page here.