We received a wonderful letter from a Dollie Ambassador, who traveled to Uganda with Medicine for Humanity (MFH). Because it is such a beautifully written description of how our Dollies and Teddy Bears can bring comfort and joy to a child, we want to share it with you!
The September 2016 trip to Uganda was incredible, with a record number of operations performed for women with fistula and other childbirth injuries (64 total operations). In particular, I wanted to share with you a few very special moments that I was able to witness on account of the dollies and teddies.
This year, we had 3 pediatric patients all under the age of 13. This is uncommon, as we usually do not see girls this young with these types of issues. However, these 3 little girls had rare congenital anomalies (ectopic ureters, and incomplete female epispadias/an issue with the urethra), which resulted in continual incontinence throughout their childhoods. It is no surprise that this led to hardships related to school, since the girls would continually leak. In essence, these surgeries could and would change the girls lives forever.
Of particular note are the importance and significance of the dollies, and what immense comfort they provided to the girls during their time in the hospital. Truly, from the moment the girls received their dollies, it was like a bond formed. The girls were carrying their dollies tied on their backs like they had seen mothers carry their babies, they braided their hair, they carried them around absolutely everywhere. On the days of their consultations or operations, the dollies helped the girls in the waiting room, in the OR, and especially afterwards, when they were recovering. One of the girls in particular felt extremely frightened as she was waking up from anesthesia after her operation, which can be quite a confusing/disorienting time for any patient, especially a young child who was very scared and anxious. MFH Executive Director Shelley and I stayed at her bedside as she was coming to, but honestly what seemed to provide her with the most comfort was having her dollie by her side. It was truly incredible to see. This was more than just a doll it was a security item, a comforting reminder that she would be okay. Indeed, she was fine, and she has now recovered and has been discharged.
On this trip, we often talked about how every little thing can do so much. How every person has a tangible talent that they can contribute and put out into the world. We continually think of Dollies Making A Difference (DMAD) as an embodiment of one of the brilliant ways that people can come together to make something so unique and beautiful. Thank you. The dollies and teddies truly were a gift.
I can’t express how grateful we are to have DMAD as one of MFH’s partners, from the $2000.00 DMAD grant and the beautiful dollies and teddies we have gotten to distribute to children for the past 2 years. Our hearts are so full, as yours should be too.
ps: I noticed that the dollies have little hearts painted on them?! Seriously you ladies are too much. So much love has been put into each and every single one of the dollies/teddies and I think that is what makes them so special.
Volunteer, Medicine for Humanity
UCLA Center for World Health
Chaudhuri Lab, Department of OB/GYN