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Girl gives dozens of personal and donated Cabbage Patch Kids dolls to comfort dementia patients

A 12-year-old girl in Sevierville is donating from her personal collection of Cabbage Patch Kids dolls to help comfort dementia patients.
Published: Nov. 24, 2021 at 4:48 PM EST
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SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - A 12-year-old girl in Sevierville is donating from her personal collection of Cabbage Patch Kids dolls to help comfort dementia patients.

Cara Wallis and her mother, Heather, said she has been working since summer to spruce up her dolls and even refurbish donated Cabbage Patch Kids others gave her, so they could eventually go to a cause like this. Heather Wallis said pandemic restrictions had prevented Cara from being able to donate dolls for a while, then they discovered the perfect match for Cara’s passion.

“She has a heart for the elderly like I’ve never seen in another child before,” said Heather Wallis. She said Cara’s first doll was purchased for her before the Wallis family adopted her into their forever family. Eventually, Cara’s collection would grow to more than 40 of the popular dolls. Then, this project to help seniors prompted Cara to donate half her collection, while also preparing other donated dolls, for a total of 58 given this week to the doll drive by Caris Healthcare in Sevierville.

Allison Giles said an aide with Caris Healthcare reminded her how much the dolls can help patients with dementia. “She told me she wanted for all of her residents to get new baby dolls for Christmas,” explained Giles, who decided to ask the community for help.

“Maybe I could provide a dozen baby dolls to every community that I call on, which is about 18. So I set a goal of 200 dolls.” Giles said in addition to Cara’s big donation, other dolls purchased online by supporters have been streaming into the Caris Healthcare office this week, nearly two dozen of those so far.

Giles explained that dolls can be a help for patients who need comfort and no longer perceive the world the same as they did before dementia.

“And sometimes when a dementia patient is having what we consider agitation, anxiety, wandering, repetitive questioning, the placement of a doll in their lap can stop all of that. I’ve seen it happen...It just provides a level of comfort that we may not ever totally understand. But it works.”

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