Holly’s Dollies!

ANZA Action's Suzanna Pomeroy talks to ANZA member Holly Reidy about how she’s making dolls to support young people with cancer.

Tell us about yourself?
My name is Holly Reidy and I’m 12 years old. I’m in Year Seven at GEMS World Academy and I play a lot of sports, including ANZA Netball.

Why did you to want to help children with cancer?
Reading Australian cricketer Brad Haddin’s autobiography My Family’s Keeper inspired me to help children with cancer. Brad’s daughter Mia had a type of cancer called Neuroblastoma. In one part of the book, Brad talks how grateful his daughter was when a teenage cancer survivor visited the ward and gave all of the children presents. I thought that making dolls might be a small way I could let children with cancer know that people are thinking about them while they are going through their treatment.

How did you get the idea for the dolls to help children undergoing chemotherapy?
I got a sewing machine for my 6th birthday, and since then, I’ve made all sorts of things with it. I use Dolls and Daydreams patterns for nearly all of my dolls. A few years ago, I was looking at all of their patterns and saw the Cuties for a Cure – dolls designed for children undergoing chemotherapy who have experienced hair loss. The dolls come with a face mask and a hat, cap, bandana, or headband. I decided to start researching some charities who might be interested.

How do you feel about distributing your dolls to children in Ronald McDonald House?
I’m proud that my project has been successful and very happy that I can give them to children at Ronald McDonald House. As part of the Happy Wheels Cart Christmas program, I’ll go around with the volunteers and give out the dolls personally.

How do you fit it in with all your school work and other activities?
It can be difficult to find time to make the dolls! I took advantage of the half term break and got a lot done then. My first doll took about four hours, now I can make them in a bit less than two hours and I’m getting quicker every time. It’s very satisfying to see each finished doll. Once I get started, I just keep going until it’s finished!

Would you like to tell us anything else about this experience?
It’s really amazing that I can provide children undergoing chemotherapy with comfort and support. I am so lucky to be given this opportunity. I hope I’m able to put a smile on their face!

The Happy Wheels Cart at National University Hospital aims to create a positive experience through treats and smiles for children and their families during their visits to the centre. The initiative is so popular that it’s going to expand into other hospitals. If you would like to be a Happy Wheels volunteer please contact anzaaction@anza.org.sg