The work a 10-year-old Pennsylvania girl is doing now may lead to the creation of the first American Girl doll featuring a disability.
Melissa Shang has a progressive and currently incurable disease called Charcot-Marie-Tooth, which affects the nerves outside the brain and spiral cord, according to the National Institutes of Health. This causes weakness and numbness in the legs and feet, loss of muscle in the lower legs, and difficulty with balance.
Shang is also a big fan of American Girl, a collectible line of dolls that represent a variety of ethnicities. Each doll comes packaged with a book that details its backstory.
Shang tells the story of how much the dolls mean to her in an online petition that asks American Girl to consider creating a doll with a disability, so little girls like her can see themselves in a brand-new way.
The petition, which has amassed more than 112,000 signatures since its creation December 27 on change.org, includes Shang’s letter to Jean McKenzie, the president of American Girl and the executive vice-president of Mattel.
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