Boy with scars overjoyed to receive doll that looks just like him
Five-year-old Payton Haynes, who has had multiple surgeries due to two separate neurological conditions, has been given a custom-made doll which has the same surgical scars as him.
Payton had to undergo two cranial surgeries and was left with scars on his skull and abdomen.
His mother, Kristin Hayes, told Good Morning America she wanted her son to have a look-alike doll because there was no toy on the market that looked similar to him.
After hearing this, students at nearby Cracker Trail Elementary School raised £444 and contacted a nonprofit organisation, which was then able to make the doll.
Payton was diagnosed with a birth defect called craniosynostosis when he was born, which means the skull’s bones fuse before the brain is fully formed.
He needed surgery to correct the shape of his head in order for his brain to grow properly, and had his first surgery at just three months old.
Last year, he was also diagnosed with hydrocephalus, a condition where there is a build-up of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain, and in December he underwent a nine-hour surgery so doctors could insert a shunt.
Payton now has a five-inch-long scar on the back of his skull, as well as a scar on his abdomen, but has his doll by his side to make him feel better.
‘In the past we’ve donated to The Humane Society, the children’s museum, so we took a class vote on what to do this year,’ Liz Prendergast, a teacher at Cracker Trail Elementary School told Daily Mail.
The class decided to donate to a child with a serious illness and were put in touch with Payton after they reached out to Champions for Children, a charity.
Liz said: ‘I was talking to Kristin, Payton’s mom, and we said we liked the idea of buying something and giving it to the child.
‘And she said: “You know, there’s this doll made by a woman that I’ve been following on Facebook and if he could share it with his friends and show the doll’s scars and explain it using a doll, that would be so cool”.’
That woman was Amy Jandrisevits, who runs a nonprofit organisation called Doll Like Me that makes custom dolls.
Amy had a long waiting list, but after hearing Payton’s story made the doll in just one weekend, spending seven hours on it before sending the doll to the school.
She felt the doll was a ‘big deal’, as well as a ‘great lesson’ for the children who raised the money, as it showed them the difference they could make in another child’s life.
Payton was given the doll by the class last Friday, which he has since named Little Payton.
He was super excited when he saw it and said: ‘He looks like me, he has my scar!’
Payton takes Little Payton around with him wherever he goes – even to doctor’s appointments.
Amy said: ‘When I make dolls, nine times out of 10, [kids] name them after themselves or some version of their name,’ she said.
‘They really look into the face of a doll and want to see their own face. We can’t underestimate how important that is.’
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