Georgia girl donates bald dolls to young cancer patients

At 9, Bella Fricker lives in her own American Girl world.

The Alpharetta third-grader has more than a dozen American Girl dolls living out their lives in a giant dollhouse her parents and brothers built for her.

 "I really like having them, and playing with them," Bella Fricker says.

"I would say they're like her best friends," her mom Valerie Fricker says, "Sometimes she has to put every single solitary doll in jammies before she goes to bed. That takes forever!"

A few months ago, looking at her American Girl catalog, Bella noticed a special doll.

Instead of sporting the usual thick shiny hair, this doll's head was smooth and bald. That's because she's designed for girls going through cancer, or alopecia, or any other type of hair loss.

And, right away, Bella wanted to buy one.

"We were going to give it to a little girl that is going through chemo," she says.

But dolls have to be specially-ordered, and they're $115 each, not including shipping. 

So, Bella got beading.

"I go upstairs, and she's busted out this table, and put up a sign," says her mother.  "And I said, 'What are you doing?' and she said, 'Oh, I started a business!'"

Bella makes and sells bracelets, for about $3 to $6 each.

Her mom created a Facebook page to sell them to friends and family. In just a few months, she's sold more than 500, and she's joined "Kids Boost," a local non-profit that helps children fundraise so they can give back to their communities.

"And I said, 'Why?  Why are you doing this,'" says Valerie Fricker. "And she said, 'I just want to make a little girl happy that is in the hospital.'"

A little girl, like 8-year old Norah Adjakpo. The Hampton 3rd grader was diagnosed last April with a cancerous brain tumor, and had been begging her parents for an American Girl doll for months

Then, just before Christmas, at her final chemo session at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta's AFLAC Cancer Center, Bella, a stranger, surprised her with a bald doll she named Bethany.

"She loved it," says Bella. "She kept giving me a hug."

"She made my daughter happy that day," Norah's mother Christine Assindah says. 

"She was so happy, enjoying the doll."

Norah now brings Bethany to every appointment.

"If I have her with me, it's going to be better," she says.  "I don't have to worry about my hair being lost. Because I have don't have hair, and she doesn't have hair."

And Bethany is just one of three dolls Bella has donated,

"It's been awesome," she says. "I feel really good about myself by helping somebody else."

Because, to Norah, this doll who looks just like her, and shares her story, is both beautiful, and everything.

"What I want to say about Bella is, thank you for giving me a doll, and may God bless you and be with you," she smiles.

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