Being a kid is tough. Being a child with diabetes makes it exponentially harder. Not only do you have a lot more responsibility than your friends, you can be excluded from activities that other kids get to participate in. To add to that, we all remember the struggle of feeling different, and how important it felt to fit in, but imagine having a disease that requires constant management and bulky supplies that you have to lug around with you everywhere you go. It can be an alienating experience.
Two years ago, when Anja Busse was 11-years-old, she started a movement. Having been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes earlier in the year, she was making some pretty big changes in her life; changes that made her feel different. When she found herself experiencing frustration over the fact that even her American Girl dolls were different from her, she created a Change.org petition. Anja observed that because there were no diabetic accessories, her doll couldn’t look just like her, which she really wanted. The petition called for the American Girl doll company to make diabetic accessories and insulin pumps for their dolls, so that young people with diabetes could have their dolls resemble them. Anja’s petition got well over 4,000 supporters.
The now 13-year-old has achieved a major victory, and the company released a diabetes care accessory kit this year. The new accessories include an insulin pump, lancet, medical bracelet, logbook, and blood sugar monitor. The company, which hopes to achieve inclusion in their products, added the kit and a set of crutches to their product line on January 1st. Already available are dolls without hair, service dogs, wheelchairs, and hearing aids, to cater to the diverse group of children who enjoy their products.
While Anja may soon age out of the American Girl doll demographic, she has accomplished a huge feat in allowing younger girls to enjoy a toy that looks just like them, and lets them know they aren’t alone! Watch the video below to hear Anjia Busse talking about her petition and why it’s important to her!Whizzco