New Delhi: A humanitarian campaign to popularise a bald doll modelled in the shape of a Barbie, the universally popular toy manufactured by Mattel, has become a hit with children who have lost their hair to cancer or are living with relatives who are victims of the deadly and often disfiguring disease.
"We WILL see a Beautiful and Bald "friend of Barbie" made to help young girls who live with hair loss due to cancer treatments, Alopecia or Trichotillomania," said the description on the Facebook page of the movement.
"Also, for young girls who are having trouble coping with their mother's hair loss from chemo. Many children have some difficulty accepting their mother, sister, aunt, grandparent or friend going from a long haired to a bald," it said.
It now has the support of the Vatican which has appealed to the makers of Barbie to put these dolls on the shelves of toy shops but Mattel has refused.
Jane Bingham, who heads the campaign, said she has "received correspondence back from Mattel. They have not changed their approach. They are continuing with their plan to make a one time production of 10,000 bald "friend of Barbie" dolls and donate them them to children's hospitals and some to the alopecia community. They are firm in that they will not put her for sale no matter the desire for them from the public, cancer community, alopecia community, Trichotillomania community, The Vatican, etc...but the one production of 10,000 is still in the works to be donated. For that I am thankful even though I disagree with their approach being so limited."
Women and children who have lost their hair are stared at and often teased when they go out in public and are expected to cover their bald heads. "We want to stop the shame and stigma that children and women deal with having hair loss," Bingham's message on Facebook said. Accessories such as wigs, bandanas, scarves and hats will be included with the doll.