‘A Doll Like Me’ creates custom made dolls for kids with disabilities
Written by Rachel Hayley on May 9, 2019
Amy Jandrisevits is using her gifts to bring joy to kids who are a little different. She makes dolls that match kids who have limb differences, medical devices, scars, birthmarks and other physical differences.
She’s a long time doll collector, and started making them for fun in her teenage years. I love dolls. And I played with them, till I was probably too old to play with them.
A friend of a friend saw one of Amy’s dolls on Facebook and said, ‘my daughter has recently had her leg amputated, would you mind making one for her?’
And that’s literally how this started, and I’m not kidding when I say in two months I had 200 orders. Only for dolls with limb differences.
Four years later, and A Doll Like Me has sent over 350 dolls to kids across the world. 1 in 6 of these dolls have been sent to Australia. Each doll is handmade by Amy, and they usually take about 6 hours to put together.
I usually look at people and think ‘I wonder what colour fabric I will use for you?’ You know everybody’s skin tone is slightly different. And so, then I pick what colour skin I think that child is and then go from there.
It all begins with a message from the child’s parent or caregiver, who explains who their child is and their story. Each parent or caregiver loves their child deeply, and knows the doll will bring their child joy.
It’s amazing to me how personal people get, so quickly. And I think what it speaks to is how hungry people are to see their child in the face of something… And so the parents will say, ‘I’m hopeful that the doll can help them with medical procedures, or the doll can help them understand that we really do think they’re beautiful.
The dolls aren’t just a cute toy to play with. They are a way for the child to gain confidence in themselves. To help them feel accepted, and not be ashamed of how they look.
It’s letting this child see themselves for the first time, in any human form. A lot of the kids, especially the boys who have the dolls, said the only thing they’ll ever see themselves in is something that’s mutant. You know like those teenage turtles. What does that do to a kid?
It’s Amy’s goal that every doll is paid for by someone other than the parent or caregiver. She is currently using Go Fund Me as a way to pay for supplies and shipping.
I think that we are all called to help, and so for some people a financial way is a way to help, and I think that this is a very tangible way to share kindness. If you wanna see what kindness looks like, it looks like the face of a doll in someone’s arms.
Amy intends to keep A Doll Like Me going for as long as she can. You only have to look at the photos and videos of kids seeing their doll for the first time to see the huge difference they are making. It’s a very surreal feeling to know that the doll was sitting on my table a few days before, and now suddenly it’s in somebody else’s arms.
If you would like to support A Doll Like Me, you can give to Amy’s Go Fund Me Page.
If you have a child in mind you think would benefit from a doll, send Amy a message through her Facebook page. She takes each request seriously.
I never went into this thinking I’m gonna have a business, and I still don’t even look at it like this is a business. It just sort of happened. It’s amazing, it really is amazing, and I just truly think when you decide to say, I’m gonna do what I’m good at, and I’m gonna let it happen, it’s remarkable what does happen.