Local Mom’s Fight Gaining National Attention

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — “Right here. Put your finger on the bow for me.”

Connie Feda encourages her daughter to help make costumes for dolls who look like her. Hannah Feda, 13, has Down Syndrome.

“This was Hannah’s brilliant idea,” her mother says. “She was flipping through a popular girl’s catalogue, and saw a doll that looked just like her little sister, Theresa, and said, ‘There’s no doll that looks like me.'”

So, Connie Feda decided to have one made. After a two-year search, she came across a doll sculptor in Michigan named Karen Scott.

“We wanted a doll that was going to reflect a personality,” Connie says. “We wanted it to be, ‘Wow, look how beautiful this doll is. Oh, look, that doll has Down syndrome.’ That’s how we look at our children.”

Sixteen such dolls are available on her website: www.dollsfordowns.org. Even the clothing has been modified to make it user friendly.

“At the age of 13, this is not a skill she has mastered,” says Connie, as Hannah tries to tie a doll’s shoelaces. “A typical kid, like her little sister, Theresa, could tie the shoe like that.”

“I give up,” Hannah says, in frustration

“You don’t give up,” responds her mother. “Giving up is not an option.”

Tough love. Hannah’s little sister pitches in.

“We made the snaps bigger, so it’s easier,” Theresa says.

Some dolls have chest scars reflecting a common surgery performed on kids with Down Syndrome.

Now, Hannah Feda can say at last, “That doll looks just like me!”

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