Mattel has introduced a new initiative that will see $5 donated to the First Responders Children’s Foundation for each Barbie doctor, nurse, or paramedic doll sold at Target. As well, the American toy manufacturer has announced a new six-doll line highlighting six real-life women healthcare workers that have made a positive impact in their communities, two from the U.S., and one each from the U.K., Brazil and Australia.
The Children’s First Responders Foundation provides college scholarships to the children of first responders who have been injured or killed in the line of duty. It also awards financial grants to first responder families struggling financially.
“Barbie recognizes that all frontline workers have made tremendous sacrifices when confronting the pandemic and the challenges it heightened,” said Lisa McKnight, Mattel’s senior vice-president and global head of Barbie and Dolls, in a media release.
“To shine a light on their efforts, we are sharing their stories and leveraging Barbie’s platform to inspire the next generation to take after these heroes and give back. Our hope is to nurture and ignite the imaginations of children playing out their own storyline as heroes.”
The announcement comes as part of Mattel’s #ThankYouHeroes program that was founded in 2020 to honour individuals who’ve led the fight against COVID-19.
The six women honoured with a doll in their likeness are:
• Amy O’Sullivan, an American emergency room nurse who treated the first COVID-19 patient in Brooklyn, N.Y. before contracting and subsequently recovering from the virus herself;
• Dr. Audrey Sue Cruz, an American frontline healthcare worker who joined forces with other Asian-American physicians to fight racial bias and discrimination;
• Dr. Chika Stacy Oriuwa, a Canadian psychiatry resident who advocated against the systemic racism in healthcare that’s been further highlighted by the pandemic;
• Professor Sarah Gilbert, a British professor of vaccinology at the University of Oxford who led the development of the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine;
• Dr. Jaqueline Goes de Jesus, a Brazilian biomedical researcher credited with leading the sequencing of the genome of a COVID-19 variant in Brazil;
• and Dr. Kirby White, an Australian general practitioner who founded the Gowns for Doctors initiative by developing a personal protective equipment gown that could be re-used.
“Mattel and Barbie showed up for First Responders Children's Foundation at the beginning of the pandemic,” said First Responders Children's Foundation president Jillian Crane in the release. “With their generous donations, we gave some joy to children across the country during a very difficult and scary time.
“With Mattel's financial support, we bought thousands of hotel room nights with food stipends for first responders on the frontlines.”
Crane added: "This exciting new partnership with Mattel, Barbie and Target will support our Power of Play Program which focuses on the social, emotional and behavioral well-being of children. These special Barbie dolls give children the opportunity to role-play with everyday heroes who show up for us in emergencies 365 days a year!”