09 Oct Why Friendship is the Core of our Mission
Do you ever just stare in awe at your kids playing with their toys? Do you wonder what they’re thinking and feeling as they tenderly care for a little doll or zoom around the living room with their Matchbox cars?
Watching how our kids played, how they told stories with their toys, inspired us to launch Forever We. We wondered if we might be able to create a toy that didn’t serve corporate greed but instead fill a real community need. We wondered if we could create something that would inspire a movement called “purposeful play?”
We wanted to create a toy that would inspire empathy in kids and that didn’t scream “Me! Me! Me!” but instead carried with it a message of compassion and hope. We also wanted to give kids a meaningful way to give back to their community and to participate in building a future for kids like them who are battling some of life’s most unfair circumstances. We wanted to celebrate friendship.
Mary Elizabeth, our first hospital ambassador, modeled friendship to the very end.
Then, on September 2nd, she died.
We wrote about her in other blog posts. She was featured in our introduction video. We followed her story. She was our first “customer,” but she wasn’t just a customer. She was also our friend, and we were her biggest fans. Her sadness made us sad, too.
There are thousands more kids just like her, fighting battles painful and unfair, in hospitals all across the country.
Kids like Sydney, who we also lost this year:
Every time, I see this photo of her, my heart smiles. She’s hugging her doll, but I just want to give her a big hug!
Mary Elizabeth didn’t endure cancer alone. Her loving family and many friends stood by her side, prayed for her, and did all those things that friends do when someone they love is suffering. One of the things Mary Elizabeth asked those friends to do was to purchase Forever We dolls, so she could distribute them to her friends at the hospitals where she was being treated.
She did all those wonderful things while she was still living, and then she did something else.
Last week, we were able to give a “Mary Elizabeth” doll to every child in her sister, Maddy’s, 5th grade class. Looking around that room full of all the kids holding their dolls was a little emotional for me. A year ago, I could not have known that a simple product could mean so much to so many kids.
Maddy got up in front of the whole class, and she talked about her sister and what the Forever We doll meant to their family. She showed her class the port on the doll’s chest and explained how it worked in real life. She showed everyone how the hair came on and off. The class ate pizza and drank Sprite and lemonade and listened intently. Mary Elizabeth’s little brother was there, too. He told the class that he sleeps with his little Super We Cancer Ninja every night.
Our mission is to inspire compassion through everyday opportunities to celebrate friendship.
Childhood cancer is important to us, not because we have personally walked that hard road, but simply because we have friends who have. We just wanted to find a simple, tangible way to show our friends that we care. It was my friend, Tami, who encouraged me, pushed me, and said, “Yes, let’s do this.” It was she who introduced us to our nonprofit partners and she who continues to connect us to new friends who need to hear our story.
It makes me happy to share a doll with the world that was born from a friendship and that is designed to foster friendship.
Thank you for joining us on this journey this year.
To find out more about how you can give a Forever We doll to your best friend, please visit our shop.