September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, when various organizations around the globe increase awareness and raise money to fight childhood cancer. The American Childhood Cancer Organization encourages everyone to Go Gold® during September in honor and in memory of kids with cancer. This seems like the perfect month to highlight the work of a group of doll makers who have hearts of gold and help kids. The Doll Makers @Lincolnia VA are one of Fairfield World’s We Make for Good grant recipients, and they make hospital stays for children with cancer and other serious conditions a little bit gentler.
The group was started in January 1990 by a member of the Annandale Women’s Club. The volunteers meet weekly at the Lincolnia Senior Center in Alexandria, Virginia, to hand craft medical teaching dolls. Since their inception, the group has donated well over 40,000 handmade dolls to local hospitals! That’s a lot of smiles and joy they have brought to young children’s faces!
Doll Makers @Lincolnia VA is a collaboration between the Lincolnia Senior Center and the Annandale Women’s Club. Volunteers make cloth, fiber filled dolls that are then gifted to children receiving care in one of five local hospitals. The doll makers work on various tasks to complete the dolls: cut out the fabric, sew the dolls and clothing, stuff with Poly-Fil, and add crocheted hair. Each step of the process is a labor of love.
Doctors use these donated dolls with their young patients to explain the procedures the child will undergo. The dolls are an aid that illustrate what will be done to help the child get better. The doll faces are left blank so that the child can draw on it and personalize their doll. This provides a creative outlet, allowing them to express themselves as they face a stay in the hospital. The handmade doll lives with the child throughout their stay, and they get to take their dolls home with them when they leave.
These gold hearted doll makers put so much love and care into each of their creations! They even make gowns similar to what children will be wearing during their hospital stay. The gowns often change with the seasons, to help children and their families feel a little holiday cheer while they are away from home. This photo, taken in December 2019, shows the beautiful collection of holiday themed gown dolls that were donated to children at Inova Fairfax Hospital. No doubt these handcrafted gifts brought lots of joy to little ones!
Grab your box of tissues, because the accolades the Doll Makers @ Lincolnia VA have received will bring a tear to your eyes. None of the volunteers does this work for recognition, but it’s nice to be reminded of the positive impact that a gift like this can have on the community.
“Please know that you are helping create a lasting, perhaps even lifesaving, impact for so many of our neighbors.” – Inova Health Foundation
“As we receive these donations, we are reminded of the simple joy a gift can bring. Your donations truly impact the overall wellbeing of our patients and their caregivers.” – Children’s National Health System
“This program allows seniors to pass along their knowledge and talents and have meaningful experiences as they touch the lives of those around them.” – Karen Albers, Lincolnia Senior Center
Whether they are fighting cancer or another serious condition, hospitalized children need all the support and compassion we can give them. Fairfield World is honored to support the charitable work of the Doll Makers @ Lincolnia VA, and we are proud to provide Poly-Fil Fiberfill for them to use at the heart of their project.
We love to hear how you make for good! If you use Fairfield World products at the heart of projects that you donate, consider applying for one of our grants. Visit the We Make for Good page to learn more about this program. Thank you for helping us share the happiness and healing power of the handmade movement!