Stories about: Dana-Farber

Mattel announces hairless version of Barbie doll

Mattel Inc., maker of Barbie dolls, last week announced that it would create a bald version of the popular fashion doll to support people battling cancer.

The announcement came a few months after Beautiful and Bald Barbie, a Facebook group that petitioned Mattel to make a hairless version of the doll, gained mass support online. Their mission was simple:

We would like to see a Beautiful and Bald Barbie made to help young girls who suffer from hair loss due to cancer treatments, alopecia or trichotillomania. 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 longhaired to bald.

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Our Patients’ stories: Processing my son’s cancer

Caroline Rider used to work in publishing before her three children were born. Life was going according to plan until her son, Charlie, got sick. After that her world tipped upside down, and in the shuffle Caroline found herself publishing again, but in a different capacity than what she was used to.

Charlie

When Charlie, my then four-year-old son, was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in October of 2006, my structured and predictable life came to a screeching halt. I had always prided myself on organizational skills that let me run a household of five with calm and ease, but after Charlie’s diagnosis concepts like “predictable” and “calm and ease” went out the window. It was a very scary time for my family, but it didn’t take long for me to find an outlet for my fear that became a safe harbor against our sudden turmoil.

Four days after Charlie’s diagnosis, I wrote an e-mail to update my friends and family about our situation. A week later I sent out another, and then another a few weeks after that. Overall I sent 39 ‘Charlie Updates’ during the course of my son’s four-year battle with cancer. Initially the updates were a way to share lot of information about Charlie’s progress with a lot of people, and do so in a quick and efficient manner. However, as the months and years passed, the updates became just as much of an emotional support as it was an information sharing strategy. Writing about our ordeal helped me cope with the problems my family and I were facing. It was cathartic to write it all down. It took away the burden of having to retell the story over and over again, but it also helped me to focus on the day-to-day. Once I wrote an update, I could put the unpleasantness of certain situations behind me and focus again on getting my family back to what had come to be considered normal.

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