Nancy Miller, owner of the doll shop Let’s Play Dolls, is a child abuse survivor. As a little girl, she found solace in her closest companion, her doll, which she named “Kathy”. “My Kathy was so much more than just a doll! In a world where I couldn’t trust, she was a beloved, trusted little companion.” Later in her life, Nancy met other abuse survivors who had also found comfort in a special doll.
In 2005, Nancy was inspired to create a charity to bring dolls to other little girls who had suffered abuse. “I kept hearing Oprah Winfrey say that we all have a purpose in life. I started wondering what my purpose was. I knew right away that I was meant to do something for abused children.” The “something” started as The Abused Kids’ Project which eventually became the Emergency Doll & Bear Dispatch. The charity’s first fundraiser was in 2006, and money raised along with additional donations that year allowed the charity to give all 32 girls at The Village of Childhelp West an American Girl doll. Each doll was designed to look like the girl who received her. The charity additionally began to purchase Gund plush animals for boys living at the facility.
By 2008 Nancy, plagued by health problems, was forced to reduce her work for the charity. By early 2010, the Abused Kids’ Project was in trouble. “There was virtually no money in the fund. I worried and agonized over it for several months, not knowing what to do. I thought about running a batch of eBay auctions. I had done this in the past, but considering the amount of work involved, the resulting funds had been disappointing.” Nancy felt she needed something special to attract interest in her fund drive, and decided to take a chance and ask doll artist Kimberly Lasher to help.”
Kim Lasher of Kimberly Lasher Originals knew Nancy through her shop which is a retailer for Lasher dolls. “Nancy emailed me with a request. I have always trusted and appreciated Nancy and my professional relationship with her, but her email was heartfelt and I knew it was something I had to do. I cherish any opportunity to “pay it forward”, especially since I have gone through difficult times in my past. If one doll can help many children, that is something extraordinary.” Nancy quickly received an enthusiastic “Yes” from the doll artist. “Her response was beyond my wildest dreams!” Kim not only offered to donate her very first OOAK Layla doll for auction, but she also built a website for Emergency Dolls and Bears Dispatch and designed a logo. Kim’s Yahoo group also contributed to the project. After hearing about the charity auction plans, members enthusiastically offered to make or acquire items to auction off with Kim’s Layla. Kim wasn’t surprised by their response. She explained, “The doll community is a group of very special, caring and wonderful people.”
The first eBay auction (Layla Angel) is scheduled to be posted at7:oo PM (PST) on February 28, 2011. 100% of the net proceeds from all the auctions, will go to the charity. According to Nancy, additional auctions of “amazing one of a kind outfits, accessories, critters and more, will also to be sold in separate auctions. Many of these items were made with Layla in mind, but will fit other SD sized dolls, as well. Some items will fit MSD and other size dolls.”
According to Kim, “Through this Nancy and I have become friends and I have to tell you, she is a very special, exceptional woman.” Kim has donated a very special OOAK Layla doll (a doll already quite special as only 35 were made) for the cause. “She is #1 of the edition. There were 2 artist proofs, but Nancy’s doll is special in that in one of her emails she told me about her “angels” that had helped her through some very difficult times. Those angels, I believe will help these children too, they have been with me also. So, this is Layla as an angel.” She added, “I am so excited to see what happens and how these wonderful children will benefit from Nancy’s dedication to them.”
eBay ID for the auction will be: nancyatletsplaydolls.
Link to the auctions will be:
Layla and a sampling of the items that will be up for auction is below: