A while back I wrote about this topic & how we were trying to bring about a change... Looks like "we" were heard. It is an incredible feeling when big companies here "us". Thank You to each & everyone of you that took the time to lend your voice to this. Together we can bring about a change & will find a cure.
MANTUA, N.J. – Next year, Barbie's world of Malibu dream houses, beauty salons and fast cars will include chemo.
But Jane Bingham says she won't rest until Barbie's new pal, a bald doll with head coverings, is available in stores.
Last week, the El Segundo, Calif.-based toy company announced it would produce a friend of Barbie who would be bald but come with wigs, hats, scarves and other fashion accessories "to provide girls with a traditional fashion play experience" Mattel spokesman Alan Hilowitz said.
Bingham, who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma five years ago, had created a Facebook campaign to bring on a bald Barbie that caught the attention of Mattel executives earlier this year.
The new doll, which does not yet have a name or a prototype to show, will be distributed in the United States and Canada through the Children's Hospital Association and CureSearch for Children's Cancer to children's hospitals and other hospitals that treat children with cancer and by the National Alopecia Areata Foundation for children who face other causes of hair loss, Hilowitz said.
"It's a partial victory. I really wanted everyone who wants one to be able to get one. Mattel said it didn't feel comfortable selling them to make a profit, but this way some children may be bypassed," Bingham said. "They could sell the dolls and donate a portion of the proceeds to cancer research and awareness, like they did with the Pink Ribbon Barbie for breast cancer."
When Pink Ribbon Barbie was released in 2006, it retailed for $24.95 and Mattel pledged to give Susan G. Komen for the Cure a minimum of $100,000 to support the fight against breast cancer.
Bingham's quest to get Mattel involved started last year after immunotherapy stopped being an effective treatment for her cancer and doctors started her on chemotherapy.
"My 9-year-old daughter (Belleliana) watched me go bald," said Bingham, 42.
At the same time, Bingham learned that the 12-year-old daughter of a Lancaster, Calif., friend she'd met in a pregnancy chatroom when she was expecting Belleliana had been diagnosed with leukemia.
Bingham hadn't met Becky Sypin, whose daughter, Kinley, underwent chemotherapy at the same time she did in the summer. Both ended up losing their hair.
In the fall, Bingham tried writing to Mattel about adding a hairless doll to its Barbie line, but all she got in return was a form letter explaining that the company didn't use unsolicited ideas from outside sources. So, just before Christmas, she and Sypin launched their Facebook page, "Beautiful and Bald Barbie! Let's see if we can get it made."
The page now has 156,488 likes, with 10,069 people talking about it. Mattel finally took notice and flew Bingham out to California in February to meet with executives and discuss a campaign. It also invited Sypin.
"We left there with a promise from Mattel that they would put out a (bald) friend of Barbie," Bingham said.
The Mantua mom, who also has three sons who are 16, 18 and 21, is not a stranger to raising cancer awareness. When she was losing her hair, teenage sons Seth and Chris shaved their locks into Mohawks in solidarity. Husband, Jim, also is supportive, Bingham said.
Bingham and Sypin's Facebook page also helped convince Los Angeles-based MGA Entertainment, maker of the Barbie competitors Bratz and Moxie Girlz, to come out with a line of bald dolls for cancer patients and their friends and relatives.
In February, MGA announced its "True Hope" Bratz and Moxie Girlz dolls, which will launch in June at Toys "R" Us stores. MGA will donate $1 from every doll sold to the California-based, comprehensive cancer center City of Hope for its cancer research.