THE COLONY (CBSDFW.COM) – Clara Tuma loves her Barbies, “I like this one,” she says as she points to her NASCAR driver Barbie, “We actually have a trophy that goes with her.”
Five-year-old Tuma is your average little girl, but she’s battling a big disease.
The little girl from The Colony has a rare Autoimmune disease. “Her immune system cannot stop fighting. It’s a constant battle for her,” explains Clara’s mother Stacy Tuma. “It doesn’t stop. Then it starts attacking her blood vessels causing a rash and it will attack the muscles.”
She’s been in and out of the hospital and the one thing that goes along with her is her blue teddy bear. “Anything that Clara has done to her the bear has done to her. If she has an IV – the bear has an IV,” says Stacy.
Clara started chemo and is slowly starting to lose her hair. One way to explain what’s happening to her could be with Barbie.
An online movement is pushing Mattel to create a cancer Barbie dubbed ‘Beautiful and Bald’ Barbie.
Clara’s mother has mixed feelings about it. “You don’t want it to become the child’s identity – their sickness – so you don’t want to have to not deal with it in reality, but then also in their play,” says Stacy.
Critics say instead of spending the money on a doll, the money should be put towards research. But some experts think the ‘Beautiful and Bald’ Barbie could teach an important lesson. “The doll is signifying that the child went through a great transformation a great journey from illness back to health I think that the parents need to frame it that way,” says psychologist Sylvia Gearing.
Clara’s dolls and teddy bear mimic what she’s going through. Her mom says she would probably buy the doll and then put it away after Clara’s hair comes back.
She would make one change, “I think they should add a wig for when the hair grows back out.”
In a statement Mattel says, “As you might imagine, we receive hundreds of passionate requests for various dolls to be added to our collection. We take all of them seriously and are constantly exploring new and different dolls to be added to our line.”
The statement goes on to say that the company is honored that Barbie could be the face of such an important cause.