Special bald Barbie helps Winnipeg girl battling cancer
WINNIPEG -- A special Brave Barbie has been by a little girl's side throughout her cancer treatment, but getting the doll wasn't easy.
Emily Pile was diagnosed with cancer a few weeks after her eighth birthday. She finished radiation in September and 24 weeks of treatment in October.
"It's obviously been a long, hard journey, but I think with everything she's been through she's shown us the strength she has," said Stephanie Reimer, Emily's mom.
Emily's road to recovery has been tough, but she's had a new friend to keep her company along the way. Ella, a Brave Barbie with no hair and a head wrap similar to what cancer patients wear, was given to Emily when she was going through treatment.
"It looked like her," said Reimer. "It gave her a little more confidence to take the head wrap off and to feel good about herself not having any hair."
The idea for the doll was sparked by a family friend who works with a local organization that helps people dealing with cancer.
"It was something she could take with her that isn't too big, so she could actually hold it while she was going through her radiation treatments," Reimer said.
According to Michael Schiefer, the executive director of the Never Alone Cancer Foundation, getting the doll was far from easy.
"After a day or so of trying, I reached out to our community of Facebook friends and had people from all over the place hitting the internet and trying to locate a Barbie," he said.
The doll can't be bought publicly and none ever came to Canada.
With a lot of patience and a little luck, eventually the charity found one for Emily in California.
The Never Alone Cancer Foundation isn't stopping there, though.
"One of our volunteer board members went out and pursued it," said Schiefer. "We reached out to a lot of different companies in the states and it all tracked back to the right contact at Mattel."
After hearing about the success of the doll, Mattel, the company that makes Barbie, is giving the foundation 100 more to give to children battling cancer.
The Never Alone Cancer Foundation is planning to hand out the new Brave Barbies on December 17th and 18th.