Anja Busse is a 13-year-old from Antigo, Wis., who has Type 1 diabetes, has wanted a kit like this for her doll since she learned she had diabetes just over two years ago. She started an online petition urging American Girl to make diabetes accessories for the dolls, rallying the Type 1 diabetes community and garnered 7,000 signatures. American Girl has a long-standing history of creating dolls that speak to diversity and inclusion. The company has a historical line that includes Hispanic, African-American, Jewish and Native American characters, as well as the Truly Me line of dolls that can be ordered to have the same skin tone, eye and hair color as the little girls who own them.
The company responded and now American Girl, has introduced a diabetes care kit for dolls. The kit sells for $24 US and has 10 doll-size make-believe items, including a blood sugar monitor, a lancing device, an insulin pump that can be clipped to a doll’s waistband with an adhesive to attach the infusion set, as well as an insulin injection pen needle (for dolls not using the pump). There is also a vial of pretend glucose tablets, a medical bracelet, an ID card, logbook and stickers, and everything fits in a bright fuchsia carrying case the size of a small change purse.
Children with Type 1 diabetes cannot make their own insulin, so they have to count carbs, prick their fingers to check their blood sugar and get regular insulin infusions. Now little girls will be able to incorporate diabetes in their play, not only when they play with their dolls, but when they interact and play with their friends, and raise awareness.