10-Year-Old Girl Petitions American Girl For Disabled Doll In A Wheelchair
This is 10-year-old Melissa Shang. In addition to being completely adorable and obsessed with American Girl dolls, Melissa also suffers from muscular dystrophy. She has Charchot-Marie-Tooth disease, which means she cannot feel sensation in her arms, legs, hands and feet and to get around in a wheelchair. Along with her sister YingYing, Melissa is petitioning American Girl (owned by Mattel) for a doll like her: a girl who is disabled.
American Girl does sell a pink wheelchair as one of its doll accessories. However, the wheelchair is not for a specific doll with a storyline that includes living with a disability.
In this Change.org petition addressed to American Girl Vice President Jean McKenzie, Melissa asked if the company might make a girl in a wheelchair their Girl Of The Year for 2015. (The 2014 is a blonde ballet dancer.) The sisters wrote in their petition:
Disabled girls might be different from normal kids on the outside. They might sit in a wheelchair like I do, or have some other difficulty that other kids don’t have. However, we are the same as other girls on the inside, with the same thoughts and feelings. American Girls are supposed to represent all the girls that make up American history, past and present. That includes disabled girls.
What a fantastic idea! It’s about time that American Girl recognized all girls, not just the ones who are able-bodied. I just signed the petition and you can, too, right here.