Most little girls adore dolls and Hannah Feda is no exception. But when Hannah, who has Down Syndrome, was flipping through a toy catalogue and saw no dolls that looked like her, her mother, Connie Feda, set out to find someone who could make the girl a doll.
That’s when Connie eventually found a doll sculptor in Michigan, named Karen Scott, after looking for two years.
“We wanted a doll that was going to reflect a personality,” said Feda, who has another daughter, Theresa. “We wanted it to be ‘Wow! Look how beautiful this doll is. Oh look at that, that doll has down syndrome. Because that’s how we look at our children.”
Feda credits Hannah for launching DollsforDowns.org where people can preorder their own custom-made dolls. There are 16 total, 10 girls and six boys, all made with specially designed clothing and functionality, including modified buttons and buckles and bigger snaps and Velcro, so that children with Down syndrome can dress the dolls easily and with less frustration. The dolls can also come with accessories like leg braces, wheel chairs, feeding tubes and speech devices, common items used by people with Down sydrome.
Hannah, who’s now 13, served as Feda’s inspiration for going national and providing children with Down a doll that empowers them.
“This was Hannah’s brilliant idea,” Feda said.
And as her website’s tagline says, “Everybody deserves a best friend.”
And for more information about Down sydrome, check out the National Down Syndrome Society’s website.