‘She has Incredible Abilities!’: Dolls with disabilities being donated in Rhode Island

PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WLNE) — Ocean State Job Lot donated over 1,600 dolls with disabilities to organizations in Rhode Island.

Sew Dolling is a manufacturer in East Greenwich that was created by Susan and Don Svendsen, with the intent to teach disability awareness.

The “chemo dolls” are boxed with head coverings, wigs, and crutches. Others are amputees with prosthetics.

The Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation was one of the recipients that received about 60 dolls to donate to families in the community.

Maria Gemma, executive director of the Gloria Gemma Foundation, said she received a call over a week ago from The Ocean State Job Lot Charitable Foundation, asking if the organization would want the dolls.

ABC 6 News spoke with Gemma to see why it’s so important to have representation, especially for children.

“Understanding that disabilities and looking different exists and appreciating that and loving that anyway,” said Gemma. “I think it’s a wonderful tool to teach children how to understand and appreciate the differences that we all have in the community, it doesn’t make us any less of a person.”

The Gloria Gemma Foundation provides support for breast cancer patients, survivors, and their families.

Gemma said the dolls will be given to patients of the foundation, and others in the community.

“They’re really beautifully made. They have wigs and hats, turbans, and one has a johnny [gown],” said Gemma. “I think they’d make a little girl or a little boy very happy, especially if they have a mom or grandmom or relative, a friend going through treatment.”

The dolls will be distributed throughout the state before the holidays.

“It’ll bring joy to a lot of children this holiday season and we’re really happy to see that,” said Gemma.

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