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Barbie Honors Frontline Heroes With New Program

In real life, heroes usually don’t wear a cape, and they don’t have super powers.

What they do have is selflessness, persistence and courage, like the many thousands of frontline medical workers who have risked their own lives to care for COVID-19 patients, and distribute lifesaving vaccines to hundreds of millions of people.

Toymaker Mattel is now recognizing their work and sacrifice through a partnership with The First Responders Children’s Foundation (FRCF). Mattel has developed a line of Barbie dolls, spotlighting six women who have become real-life heroes of the pandemic. Each has a one-of-a-kind doll made in their likeness, and for each of these dolls sold through retail partner Target, Barbie will make a $5 donation to the FRCF.

“Barbie recognizes that all frontline workers have made tremendous sacrifices when confronting the pandemic and the challenges it heightened,” said Lisa McKnight, Senior Vice President and Global Head of Barbie & Dolls, Mattel.

To shine a light on their efforts, we are sharing their stories and leveraging Barbie’s platform to inspire the next generation to take after these heroes and give back,” McKnight added. “Our hope is to nurture and ignite the imaginations of children playing out their own storyline as heroes.”

Experts in their fields who have shown great courage during a challenging time, these six role models made a positive impact in their communities, inspiring current and future generations for years to come, says McKnight. The global lineup of women honored with a one-of-a-kind doll includes:

  • Amy O’Sullivan, RN (United States) – Emergency Room nurse Amy O’Sullivan treated the first COVID-19 patient in Brooklyn at the Wyckoff Heights Medical Center, became ill and was intubated, then a few weeks later returned to work to continue taking care of others.
  • Dr. Audrey Sue Cruz (United States) – Dr. Cruz, a frontline worker from Las Vegas, NV, during the pandemic, joined forces with other Asian-American physicians to fight racial bias and discrimination.
  • Dr. Chika Stacy Oriuwa (Canada) – A psychiatry resident at the University of Toronto, Canada, Dr. Oriuwa has advocated against systemic racism in healthcare, which has been further highlighted by the pandemic.
  • Professor Sarah Gilbert (United Kingdom) – As a professor of vaccinology, Professor Gilbert led the development of the University of Oxford vaccine in the U.K.
  • Dr. Jaqueline Goes de Jesus (Brazil) – As a biomedical researcher, Dr. Goes is credited for leading the sequencing of the genome of a COVID-19 variant in Brazil.
  • Dr. Kirby White (Australia) – A General Practitioner in Australia, Dr. White co-founded the Gowns for Doctors initiative—by developing a PPE gown that could be laundered and re-used, allowing frontline workers in Victoria, AU to continue seeing patients during the pandemic.

Jillian Crane, President of First Responders Children’s Foundation, gave the company a heartfelt thank you, after an indescribably difficult year.

“Mattel and Barbie showed up for First Responders Children’s Foundation at the beginning of the pandemic,” said Crane. “With their generous donations, we gave some joy to children across the country during a very difficult and scary time. With Mattel’s financial support, we bought thousands of hotel room nights with food stipends for first responders on the frontlines.”

Crane also says she’s excited to see how the dolls will empower children, who are facing a scary time during the ongoing pandemic.

“This exciting new partnership with Mattel, Barbie and Target will support our Power of Play Program which focuses on the social, emotional and behavioral well-being of children,” she said. “These special Barbie dolls give children the opportunity to role-play with everyday heroes who show up for us in emergencies 365 days a year!”

Mattel, Inc. announced that its Barbie will donate $5 for each eligible Barbie doctor, nurse and paramedic doll sold at Target to the First Responders Children’s Foundation (FRCF), benefiting the children of first responders.

For 20 years, First Responders Children’s Foundation has been providing college scholarships to the children of first responder parents who have been injured or lost in the line of duty. The Foundation also awards grants to families enduring significant financial hardship and supports, promotes, and facilitates educational activities and programs created and operated by first responder organizations to benefit children or the communities in which they live.

Due to the pandemic, The First Responders Children’s Foundation Emergency Response Fund was established in March 2020 to provide financial hardship grants, PPE, and hotel accommodations to first responders on the front lines of the pandemic. The Foundation also pays for funerals of first responders who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

And that is not a small number. According to research by Kaiser Health News and The Guardian, approximately 3,600 health care workers were killed during the first 12 months of the COVID-19 pandemic in the US alone.

In addition to the frontline heroes program, Barbie is also introducing the Fast Cast Clinic playset, with a Barbie doctor doll and four distinct play areas: a medical station, an exam table, an x-ray machine and a gift shop. The innovative new set includes dough that can be shaped to create leg/arm casts and create wraps with the bandage maker, allowing children to play out roles across the medical field.

With dough containers to create casts, a set of crutches and over 30 pieces, the Fast Cast Clinic playset is available at major retailers for $49.99.

Mattel’s #ThankYouHeroes program was created in 2020 to honor individuals who have led the fight against COVID-19, as well as the everyday heroes who have kept communities up and running. The line consisted of special edition products from Fisher-Price, Matchbox, MEGA, UNO and American Girl, along with Barbie.

For more information about the First Responders Children’s Foundation, visit 1stRCF.org. For additional details and eligible products for promotion, visit www.Barbie.com/ThankYouProgram.

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