Eighteen-year-old Chloe Newman was born with just one leg, her left. So when she discovered Barbie Fashionista #121 — a Mattel doll with a prosthetic limb — she finally felt seen.
She then set out to have hundreds of the dolls donated to Shriners Hospitals for Children to give a boost to other kids missing limbs.
“I really was like oh my gosh, oh my gosh, finally a doll representing that segment of the population!” says the Mechanicsville, N.Y., teen in a Shriners Hospital press release. Last week Chloe and her mom, Cindy, delivered more than 400 of the dolls to the Shriners Hospital in Springfield, Mass., where she has been fitted with prosthetics since she was a toddler.
In utero, Chloe experienced a rare condition called amniotic band syndrome, in which the fetus becomes entangled in strands from the amniotic sac, which can cause deformities or require amputation. Her right leg is a prosthetic, fitted for her by the same prosthetist, Brock McConkey, for most of her life.
McConkey inspired Chloe to acquire as many of the dolls as possible and donate them. Chloe’s local Walmart only had four of the dolls, so her mom put out a call for donations on social media, MassLive reports. Within a day, the mother and daughter had been gifted their goal of 100 dolls, and the donations didn’t stop there. Not including the 200 dolls Mattel eventually sent, the pair collected more than 430 prosthetic-legged Barbies — and donated them all to Shriners.
“We are very grateful to Chloe, her mom, and the friends and families who supported these efforts,” Shriners writes in a statement.
Chloe hopes the dolls will help normalize having a missing limb for the children who receive them.
“[They] are making a Barbie like me, so why should I be ashamed of myself if there’s new toys like me?” she tells WWLP.