Cedar Rapids Weather
Selling Dolls To Cover Travel Costs For Children With Cancer
By Jillian Petrus, Reporter
DUBUQUE, Iowa – From the beloved Cabbage Patch Doll to American Girls, a simple toy doll will likely top many holiday wish lists for little girls all over the world.
But before you buy a brand name consider Dina Doll.
Dina is not your average Raggedy Ann. That’s because Dina is a local doll, with a local story, inspired by true events.
“Dina Doll is named after my sister Dina,” explained Dina Doll creator, Michelle Ernsdorff. “I was 14-months-old when I was diagnosed with cancer, and Dina became my travel companion.”
So to raise money and honor her sister’s name, Ernsdorff managed to get grant money, start the Compass to Care: Mike and Sandy Ernsdorff Childhood Cancer Foundation and begin producing and selling the Dina Doll.
Dina is twenty dollars, but because Ernsdorff is not paying for production of the doll, all proceeds go directly to helping families cover the often unexpected travel costs of cancer treatment.
With a staggering forty percent of children living sixty or more miles from a Pediatric Oncologist, the bills for hotel stays, food and gas are an expense not all families can absorb.
Michelle’s parents, Mike and Sandy Ernsdorff, understand this reality all too well.
“You look up and realize ‘I don’t have any money’. We were busted flat broke,” recalls Mike Ernsdorff. “You’re not always prepared to be spending money in restaurants, but you’ve got to. It’s your kid, what can you do?”
Michelle’s mother, Sandy, remembers her husband hitchhiking home from the hospital at a time when the family literally could spare no more travel costs.
“It was really hard on us,” Sandy Ernsdorff said, “But you have got to go, because we wanted the best care for her.”
Now, you can take Dina home, or donate her to a child going through cancer treatment. Either way, the Ernsdorffs say you’re making a difference.
The foundation will also book all travel accommodations, but in order to keep their mission going in the right direction, they need to find homes for Dina Doll.
They say what better time than the holiday season.
“People are buying presents anyway,” said Michelle Ernsdorff, “if you’re going to buy a doll, we ask you consider one that will make a difference in the lives of someone else.”
To buy your own Dina Doll, you can visit the Compass to Care website by clicking here or call 563-590-5127
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