We’ve dabbled in advocacy here and there in the past three years. Our larger-scale efforts, such as trying to raise money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation through the participation in annual Walk for Diabetes events, have been unsuccessful as we have never been able to garner the kind of financial support or “walk presence” that seems to be the norm for others. Instead, we’ve focused on small-scale advocacy, such as by sharing information with those who would like to learn more about T1D.
Madeline is a fan of American Girl dolls. About a year ago, she hatched the idea to write a letter to the company which makes them, to encourage it to make diabetes-related accessories. I encouraged her to get her thoughts on paper; she wrote a beautiful letter, but then decided not to mail it because she thought her voice would not be heard. Just today, though, the idea recurred to her. She asked me to scribe a letter to AG for her, which I’ve shared below.
She has amazing voice. I hope it’s heard and acknowledged.
Dear American Girl,
My name is Madeline Queen. I am 9 years old and I have Type 1 Diabetes (T1D). This happens when the immune system attacks the cells in our pancreas that make insulin, because it thinks that those cells are enemies. Insulin is something our bodies need to unlock the cells so they can use glucose, from the food we eat, for energy. I have an insulin pump that gives me insulin, and without it I can get very, very sick.
I have five American Girl dolls that I share with my sister. I noticed that your company sells accessories for the dolls, such as glasses, casts, crutches and wheelchairs. I also saw that you even make accessories for an allergy-free lunch for kids who have food allergies. I think that these accessories are important because they allow girls to pretend that their dolls are more like them.
I am hoping that your company will think about making accessories for the dolls that are the same as the things that I have to use for my T1D. For example, you could make an insulin pump with an infusion set, a blood glucose meter, test strips and syringes (for kids who get insulin through shots instead of a pump). This would help me to be able to pretend that my doll has T1D like I do. I am the only girl in my school who has T1D and I often feel lonely. One time, I even made a pretend insulin pump out of clay that I could use with my dolls, but it broke. If I had these accessories for my doll, I would pretend that she had T1D like me, and I would feel less lonely.
Thank you for reading my letter. I am hoping that you will make T1D accessories for American Girl dolls.