Like most little girls, 8-year-old Mia Bailey is obsessed with American Girls dolls, which exploded on to the toy scene in 1986 and have been best-sellers ever since. In fact, for Mia and her mom, Meredith, the dolls have a special place in their hearts.
That's because Mia was diagnosed with alopecia areata, an autoimmune disease that causes hair loss, when she was four years old. For one Christmas, Meredith had made sure to order Mia an American Girl doll who was bald and beautiful, just like her--and it meant the world to Mia, though the little girl wondered why the bald doll had to be specially ordered and wasn't on display in the store like the other dolls with hair.
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"She asked why they weren't at the store. I didn't have a good answer, and I was sad," Bailey told TODAY Parents."It was her number one Christmas present. I can't put it into words — she had a doll that was just like her — it was a piece of her."
So when it was time for Mia's recent birthday, her mom, Meredith, knew just where to take her--but when they walked into the store, this time the mom was in for a major shock.
There, displayed openly and proudly, were the bald dolls that once had to be specially ordered and hadn't normally been on display like the other dolls with hair.
"We traveled up the escalator and the first display we see is a trundle bed with a doll without hair sitting there," said Bailey. "We both yelled with excitement. Next, we weaved our way around the store and found another one behind glass," Bailey continued. "That's when I cried. These dolls weren't hidden, they were up on display with pride."
The emotional mom immediately began crying--and she also took to Facebook to express her gratitude to the store.
"To little girls who may feel 'alone' and so desperately want to see dolls that reflect their beauty -- it means more than you know," Bailey wrote in her post. "Thank you so much for including ALL children."