Moving America Forward

Meet the Mom Who Convinced Mattel to Change Its Product Line

July 23, 2014
Meet the Mom Who Convinced Mattel to Change Its Product Line
Chemo Barbie may give girls in hospitals someone who looks a little more like them. Matel UK
Thanks to Melissa Bumstead, hospitals and foundations will receive "Ella" dolls each year to help comfort children going through chemotherapy.

The “Ella” doll looks just like any other Barbie, except for one thing: She’s bald.

Nicknamed “Chemo Barbie,” the limited-edition doll was distributed in 2012 by toy company Mattel to select hospitals and charities in the U.S. and Canada to help comfort girls going through hair loss from chemotherapy.

As Women You Should Know reports, the doll certainly helped four-year-old Grace Bumstead’s come to terms with losing her golden head of curls as she battled a rare form of leukemia.

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Grace’s mother, Melissa, saw how much comfort the doll (which comes with wigs and headscarves) brought to her daughter. But she was disheartened to learn that Grace’s medical facility — the Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles — only had six dolls and would not be receiving any more.

That’s why Melissa created a petition that urged the toy makers to make more Ella dolls to help kids like her daughter. After three months and more than 100,000 signatures, Mattel actually agreed.

The company said they will deliver a new batch of Ella dolls to hospitals, charities and foundations throughout the country starting in August. They also plan to make new ones annually.

As Melissa shared online, “This means that every year hospitals and foundations will receive a fresh supply of dolls, so there will be more Ellas for kids with cancer like Grace!”


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