Bald Barbie doll donations surge for children with cancer in Philadelphia area

WILLOW GROVE, Pa. -- Sharon Snyder has been receiving an enormous amount of packages lately. Her living room is starting to look like a Barbie doll warehouse.

That's because she asked her Facebook friends if they would consider sponsoring a bald iteration of the glamorous toy to donate to a young girl battling cancer.

"One right after the next, after the next. Everyone got me so busy!" she said.

In just a few weeks, she reached a landmark total: 315 bald Barbie dolls.

"That's Kyle's birthday, 3/15," she said.

Kyle Snyder was Sharon's first-born son. "This healthy, strong little boy that was just beginning life," she recalls.

In the blink of an eye, Kyle was diagnosed with leukemia. Only eight months later, he sadly passed away.

Sharon wasn't ready to stop being a mother. She started helping other children with cancer in Kyle's name, eventually creating the non-profit, Kisses for Kyle, in 2001.

"Kyle's spirit, I think, could teach so many people," Sharon said. "And I do not doubt that he is here with us, helping us every day."

She looks back on Kyle's can-do attitude when finding the strength to push forward through the COVID-19 pandemic. Earlier this March, nearly all of her outreach plans were postponed indefinitely.

The influx of Barbie doll donations are revitalizing her faith in once again providing support and smiles for affected families.

"It means a lot to know that there's so many people out there that, y'know, supports us," said Cheryl Hydock. Her youngest daughter, Aslyne "Azzy" Pierce, 5, was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma.

Although Azzy is three years on the mend, the family fears the health risks with the ongoing pandemic. Wearing masks, social distancing, and self-isolation are no strangers to families battling childhood illnesses.

Cheryl and her fiance, Mark, are raising four children in the Port Richmond section of Philadelphia. As of now, they are preparing to help them learn remotely this coming school year. This includes Azzy, who is just starting kindergarten.

That's why Kisses for Kyle is also distributing school supplies to families like Cheryl's. Stephanie Yost, a former beneficiary of the foundation, is now using her time to make such deliveries.

"Be you. Be happy. Do whatever makes you smile," the leukemia survivor said to encourage other young boys and girls who battle similar illnesses.

To learn more about Kisses for Kyle, visit their website.

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