Beautiful and Bald Barbie - Yes!
The Gateway for Cancer Research supports Jane Bingham and the Beautiful and Bald Barbie initiative.
Beautiful and Bald Barbie would help show that hair does not define beauty and that women are strong and beautiful with or without hair.
THE GATEWAY FOR CANCER RESEARCH GETS BEHIND BALD BARBIE
Organization President Praises Supporter for Child-Oriented Initiative
CHICAGO (January 2012) – True story. A little girl who loved to dress up as a princess was diagnosed with cancer. When she lost all her hair to chemotherapy, she believed that she could no longer portray her favorite character.
That moved Jane Bingham of Sewell, N.J., a cancer patient herself, to dream a dream and it centered on the most iconic doll in the world. What if, she wondered, a bald Barbie could be created to make young girls with cancer feel as normal as their next-door neighbor with hair? The Gateway for Cancer ResearchSM, www.demandcurestoday.org, believes it’s a great idea.
As of Jan. 19, there were more than 132,000 “likes” on the “Beautiful and Bald Barbie” Facebook page, (www.facebook.com/BeautifulandBaldBarbie), which was created by Bingham and Rebecca Sypin of Lancaster Calif. to urge Mattel, Inc. to mass produce a bald Barbie. They’ve also started a petition drive at Change.org that garnered 5,000 signatures the first day.
“We are so proud of Jane, one of The Gateway’s supporters, for moving this important initiative forward,” says Lynette Bisconti, President of The Gateway and a 14 year cancer survivor. In 2010, Bingham coordinated the “Pink Hair Dare” as a memorial fundraiser to friend Chris Monaghan and raised $2500 for The Gateway. She picked The Gateway, she says, for its pledge to donate 99 cents of every dollar it receives to cancer research.
“Hair loss is traumatic. For cancer patients and survivors, being able to feel good about how you look plays a role in emotional wellbeing, which can affect overall health,” Bisconti said. Cancer treatments can take away so much. This is a disease that reaches deep into every part of patients’ lives, including their appearance. Any positive depiction of a cancer patient’s journey is welcome as they struggle to be ‘normal’ during some of the most challenging times of their lives,” she added.
Bingham adds that the initiative applies to girls with alopecia as well, a disease that results in hair loss, which affected a real princess – Caroline of Monaco; and trichotillomania, a compulsion disorder that involves chronic hair pulling.
“This one idea, a bald Barbie, could have a great impact on the quality of life for patients, their families and their friends. Young girls, who are so impressionable in particular, could find strength in it. Perhaps they’ll feel it’s okay to be princesses again.”
To the kids who she believes would literally embrace a bald Barbie, Bingham says: “Their beauty and self-esteem does not have to depend on hair. It’s better that you’re bold and brave by being who you are. Your beauty is from the inside, and I’ve noticed that with women and girls without hair you notice their eyes and smiles more and see their faces light up more.”
The initiative got a boost when an American Cancer Society blog post criticized the idea on several fronts. One point was that girls without cancer “could end up being terrorized by the prospect of it in a far outsized proportion to their realistic chances.” It also stated that childhood cancer is rare. An outpouring of anger over the blog post prompted the ACS to remove the post and apologize the next day.
Amidst the continued furor over the blog, Bisconti reiterated that The Gateway “supports the efforts behind the “Bald and Beautiful Barbie” and applauds people everywhere who want to ease the suffering caused by cancer in big and small ways.
“It doesn’t matter how many children or young adults get cancer. It matters that there are any at all. When cancer strikes, it strikes someone we love, not just a small statistical number of people. Cancer remains a terrifying disease for patients and those who love them. The treatments for cancer are toxic and terrifying as well.”
“A bald Barbie might serve three purposes: It would bring comfort to the children who play with her, draw attention to the need for non-toxic treatments for all types of cancers, and to the critical need for more funding of research for lifesaving treatments for all cancer types.”
Bisconti also notes that The Gateway, in September 2011, teamed up with Inspiration Salon in Rockford, IL. to offer fashion tips helping those with cancer feel and look as beautiful on the outside as on the inside.
Through television fashion segments, The Gateway offered a message of hope to let patients know how they can look their best at any time to help ease the emotional impact of cancer. The models were all cancer survivors – and some were bald.
Bingham says feeling “normal” is what the drive to mass market a bald Barbie is all about – and she gives a thumbs up to The Gateway’s traveling fashion show.
“We think accessories such as wigs, bandanas, scarves and hats could be included (with the bald Barbie),” she says. “This would be a great coping mechanism for young girls dealing with hair loss themselves, or a loved one dealing with it. We would love to see a portion of proceeds go to childhood cancer research and treatment.”
ABOUT THE GATEWAY FOR CANCER RESEARCH
The Gateway for Cancer Research(SM) is a non-profit organization committed to funding innovative research and bold new ideas for lifesaving treatments. We’re demanding cures to improve and save the lives of today’s patients, now. Our mission is to speed clinical breakthroughs to the bedside to help cancer patients live longer, feel better and be cured today. Since our founding in 1991, The Gateway has funded $19 million in leading-edge research, including blending the best of conventional and complementary/alternative therapies. Follow us on Twitter@Gatewaycr and become a fan at facebook.com/GatewayCancerResearch.