Harmonie-Rose Ivy Allen was only 11 months old when she lost her limbs. The toddler suffered from meningitis and the odds of recovery was slim, according to doctors.
Now a 2-year-old quadruple amputee, the tiny tot has taken it all in stride. Harmonie’s mom, Freya Hall, sat down with ABC News and spoke about how her daughter is adjusting to life without limbs.
Hall said she wanted to treat her daughter to something special for her upcoming birthday and thought that an American Girl doll would be the perfect gift.
But this wasn’t the usual 18-inch doll. Hall purchased a little girl named Rebecca that looks just like Harmonie. She was brought in from New York and given four prosthetic limbs.
Despite Harmonie's positive spirits, her mother says that the toddler isn’t comfortable with artificial arms and legs. She’s hoping that Rebecca will help her through that challenge.
"Harmonie has never seen another quadruple amputee, so it's amazing to show her that she's not the only one," Hall said. "I'm hoping it will encourage her to go on her prosthetic legs a little more, too. At the moment, Harmonie sees her legs more as a hindrance rather than something that will help her," she added.
Hall decided to surprise Harmonie with the doll a few months before her birthday and immediately saw a change in her daughter’s attitude.
"She just said, 'Mommy, she's just like me,'" Hall said. "She loves to take the arms and the legs off and they love to sit next to each other without the prosthetics on."
Harmonie isn’t the first to have an American Girl doll modeled after her, and I’m sure she won’t be the last. It wasn’t too long ago when Meredith Bailey sent the company a thank you letter for making a doll in her daughter’s likeness.
“When she was 4 she was diagnosed with alopecia. This past Christmas ... she received a doll without hair and nothing has thrilled her more,” Meredith wrote on her Facebook page.
She went on to say that her daughter did have concerns that a doll without hair wouldn’t be featured in stores, but was pleasantly surprised when she visited one of the American Doll locations and saw them on display.
“This may feel to your company to be 'no big deal,' but to little girls who may feel 'alone' and so desperately want to see dolls that reflect their beauty—it means more than you know. I cried many happy tears yesterday. Thank you so much for including ALL children,” Meredith said.
It’s amazing to see how much of an impact one doll can have on a little girl’s life. Let’s face it, being a kid has its challenges. It’s no secret that they’re sometimes ridiculed for being different. The fact that the American Girl doll line caters to children of different backgrounds can help change the way kids see themselves. It allows them to appreciate their uniqueness while feeling comfortable in their own skin.