Melissa Shang, 10, loves her American Girl dolls, but now she wants one who understands her struggle. Shang, who has a form of muscular dystrophy, is petitioning for a disabled American Girl doll. She wrote in her Change.org petition, “I want other girls to know what it’s like to be me, through a disabled American Girl’s story.”
The 10-year-old has Charcot-Marie-Tooth and uses a wheelchair to get around. She wrote, “Being a disabled girl is hard. Muscular Dystrophy prevents me from activities like running and ice-skating, and all the stuff that other girls take for granted … Disabled girls might be different from normal kids on the outside. They might sit in a wheelchair like I do, or have some other difficulty that other kids don’t have. However, we are the same as other girls on the inside, with the same thoughts and feelings.”
Shang wrote that she has learned about what it’s like to be an enabled girl through her dolls. She has read all of the books and seen all the movies, and Shang has asked for a doll for Christmas every year for the past three years. She wrote, “Through Saige, I learned what it’s like to be an artist and horseback rider. Through McKenna, I learned what it’s like to be a gymnast. Girls of the Year have helped me understand how it feels to be someone else.” Now she wants enabled girls to know what it’s like to be disabled. The peppy girl said in her YouTube video, “Disabled girls are American girls too. We face challenges and overcome them every day.”
Shang posted the petition on Dec. 28 and said that she wants the American Girl to release a disabled Girl of the Year in 2015. She already has nearly 13,000 signatures.
Follow Andrea Park on Twitter: @andreapark