Teenager Ariella Pacheco was a little girl when her parents let her choose a doll from a catalog. The girl picked a doll that looked exactly like her. The hair color and style matched her.

Pacheco was now talking to encinitasadvocate.com and said, “She looked like me, and I felt there was a piece of me in her. You see yourself in a doll, and it’s extraordinary to have that connection.”

As a kid, one question kept propping up. What about children who have rare medical conditions and don’t look like regular kids? The mass-producing doll makers never thought about them. Pacheco wanted to give these children the same gift she got as a child. Thus began a noble effort in bringing some joy into the lives of such kids.

Childhood Dream

The past several months, Pacheco designed and sewed cloth dolls for four local youth who have between them a port-wine stain birthmark, surgical scars, a jaw alignment issue, and face and cranial differences.

Pacheco felt that each kid was unique and special. These dolls will help them rediscover themselves and see themselves in a new light.

Zulema Gillett, 21, of Temecula, is one of the recipients of the doll. She is no longer a kid, and she loves the idea of unique toys for special children. She suffers from Goldenhar syndrome, which caused her to be born with a cleft lip, a misaligned jaw, and only one ear.

Gillett said, “Who doesn’t want a doll that looks like them that they could relate to. It is really nice and very thoughtful.”

Insurance Doesn’t Cover Cosmetic Surgical Procedures.

The four doll recipients are all clients of Fresh Start Surgical Gifts in Carlsbad. Fresh Start Surgical Gifts is a charitable organization that provides free surgeries and other medical treatment for children whose families can’t afford it or whose insurance doesn’t cover cosmetic surgical procedures.

Pacheco, who plans to pursue a career in public health, is an incoming senior at Cathedral Catholic High School in Carmel Valley. Her heart for others is an example we can all follow to do good for others. Do Good!!- It’s in you!!


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