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Meet the Buddies: Child Sickness Dolls

At the Shadow Buddies Foundation, our mission is to foster compassion and awareness of differences. Alongside programs and education, one way we pursue this mission is by offering a line of specially-made childhood illness dolls (buddies). Each buddy is made to represent a child’s medical or emotional condition, with the goal of giving children with severe illnesses and disabilities a friend “just like me.” Each buddy is carefully researched and crafted in muslin, a durable cotton fabric.

Representation in Children’s Toys: Finding a Buddy “Just Like Me”

As most of us remember growing up with a favorite doll (or 10), we know how popular a toy it is and how prominent a role they played in developing our imaginations. As our children enjoy the same companionship a buddy can bring, it can be difficult in some instances to find one that they feel is like them. The issue of representation and positive affirmations from dolls to children is one that has been well documented, perhaps most notably when considering the iconic Barbie doll. Just as it became a mainstream issue that Barbie’s unrealistic proportions and lack of diversity was negatively impacting girls (and boys), the challenge in finding a doll that represents children with illnesses or disabilities is an issue that we chose to address with our unique child sickness dolls. That’s why we’ve created heart buddies, seizure buddies, and Down syndrome buddies, to name a few, to help bring positive opportunities to offer encouragement and education to all children. All children deserve to be represented and made to see that they are completely normal and worthy; that’s why we believe so strongly in our childhood illness dolls. View examples of our little buddies below!

Click on one of our buddies to learn more about them, customize, and order!