‘A Doll Like Me’: Woman creates custom dolls for children with disabilities

This kind-hearted woman has built a small business with a touching mission.

She handmakes dolls for children with different features and disabilities.

Amy Jandrisevits, from Wisconsin, is a doll collector ever since she was a child. She worked as a social assistant in a pediatric oncology unit for years. There, she worked with children, using dolls in their therapy process.

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I feel that this is long overdue. This is me…I am A Doll Like Me. I am quite sure that the younger version of me is thrilled that the adult Amy still gets to play with dolls! In fact I think she would approve of me taking professional photos with my dolls ♥️ While this technically is a business, I like to think of it more like a ministry or a mission. I laugh when people say – can someone from your company contact me because 90% of the time I look around and it’s my Labrador and my three year old ☺️. “Who is going to field this request?” I ask them. When these media pieces talk about me sewing at my dining room table, it’s the truth. These dolls are very much a part of our family and I work on them at our kitchen counter and in the room that used to be the dining room! We haven’t eaten at that table in years. LOL. 😉 I know that the word “representation” is used a lot but it’s very important to me. And obviously it’s very important to the little people that I make these for. This is genuinely a labor of love and my goal is to raise as much money as I can through my go fund me campaign so that for the next several years I can help families who aren’t able to pay. I wish I could do it for free, but fabric and stuffing and doll clothes are pretty expensive. I am so honored to be a part of these kids lives, in such an intimate way. None of their stories are lost on me and behind each doll is a sweet person who longs for a place at the table. One of the most exciting things that has happened over the course of the last three months is that I have been able to advocate for the kids who don’t see themselves on the store shelves. It’s so exciting and I am incredibly grateful for all of this media exposure. I hope that I am representing them in a way that is just and kind and dignified. #thisisme #representationmatters #gofundme #womeninbusiness #customdoll #adolllikeme #changethenarrative #dosomething

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Furthermore, she realized that the dolls she was using appeared to be in perfect health, unlike the children she was doing therapy with. She had the wonderful idea to start a small business making more realistic dolls for children, regardless of their medical condition, ethnicity, or other physical characteristics. That’s when Amy created “A Doll Like Me”. In her GoFundMe campaign, she says:

“I am a doll-maker who feels that every kid, regardless of gender, ethnicity, age, medical issue, or body type, should look into the sweet face of a doll and see their own.”

The main purpose of Amy’s project is to create dolls for children who wouldn’t see themselves in a regular toystore shelf.

On her Facebook page, she shares that her heartfelt belief was that dolls should look like their owners. She also explains how it all started:

“Initially I made a limb difference doll for a darling little girl who wanted a doll that looks like her… I realized that there aren’t many places where you can custom-order a doll with a limb difference(s) AND have him/her look like the person who loves the doll… That’s where I come into play…
I slowly added other dolls…dolls with albinism, dolls with prosthetic legs and feeding buttons, dolls with birthmarks and scars…if it’s something I can do, I’ll willing to try!”

So far, “A Doll Like Me” has provided hundreds of dolls to children all around the world.

The good-natured dollmaker fulfilled her dream to turn her small project into an official nonprofit organization. She wishes for every kid in need to be able to get their unique doll free of charge.

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You know about Black Friday…you know about Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. But do you know what Tuesday is? No…it's not Fat Tuesday 😉 Not yet! 😝 It's "Giving Tuesday." Giving Tuesday is not actually the END to all of that shopping. It's the BEGINNING of a new season. I read that it is a global movement of generosity from people who want to transform their communities. How cool is that? It's the beginning of a time when we think of others first. It reminds us that we are all connected and that we all belong to each other. Giving Tuesday is important for nonprofits and charities because it's a way for them to raise money, and ultimately awareness, for their cause. Most nonprofits, A Doll Like Me included (A Doll Like Me is a 501(c)3), have a variety of ways to contribute. A Doll Like Me is a verified charity on Facebook and it's part of GoFundMe's new charity launch – both of which provide tax deductible receipts. If there's one thing I've learned this year, it's that small gestures can make huge impacts – even life-changing ones. No matter which not-for-profit you choose, please choose one…and if you can't financially contribute, get behind it. Talk about it and offer your support through gestures and conversation. Think it doesn't matter? I have a whole lot of little people who would tell you otherwise ❤️ https://charity.gofundme.com/o/en/campaign/giving-tuesday28 @gofundme

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Amy has already partnered with children’s hospitals and kids who feel much better having a doll-best-friend during their medical care. The reason why she started a fundraiser is because she wants to continue working with children. As she points out:

“Funds raised will be used to pay for materials and shipping to cover the cost of dolls for those who can’t afford it.”

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Did you know that play is the language of children?! ♥️

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Hopefully, Amy’s mission will continue putting smiles on children’s faces, and soon every kid in need will have free access to her beautiful handmade dolls.