(HOUSTON) — Dylan Probe, 10, received a memorable surprise after having her lower right leg amputated because of cancer.
The fourth-grader from Houston, Texas, was given an American Girl doll who has a prosthetic lower right leg. Dylan promptly named her new doll “Hope.”
“Hope” joins another doll, named “Faith,” who Dylan received earlier in her cancer treatment. Faith, another American Girl doll, has no hair, which Dylan related to after losing her own hair to chemotherapy.
“You have to have faith and you have to have hope to get through this or otherwise it’s going to be horrible, not that it’s great, but it’d really be horrible,” Dylan told ABC News of why she chose her dolls’ names. “If you believe and you have faith and you have hope, then things will turn out OK.”
Last November, Dylan was diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma, a type of bone cancer that is rare in children. As an active swimmer and soccer player who competed in triathlons prior to her cancer diagnosis, Dylan and her family chose an amputation to allow Dylan to continue her active life.
She will be fitted with a prosthetic leg after she recovers from the March 17 operation. Dylan also has to complete eight more rounds of chemotherapy, her mother, Megan Probe, told ABC News.
By Dylan’s side during her next rounds of chemotherapy will be Sherina Welch, a Houston-based professional photographer. It was Welch who gave Dylan the doll through donations made by family and friends.
Welch is photographing Dylan and five other pediatric cancer patients for a photo series called “More Than Four.” The name symbolizes an estimate from the Coalition Against Childhood Cancer that 4 percent of the National Cancer Institute’s budget goes toward childhood cancer.
Welch said the goal of the photo series is to let “the families know they’re not alone and educating people about the four percent funding level.”
Once Dylan told Welch she loves American Girl dolls, Welch worked with a New York-based prosthetic company to custom design Dylan’s doll.
“She can relate to it,” Welch said. “She can feel ‘normal,’ that here’s this beautiful doll that looks just like me.”
Dylan described herself as being “in shock” when she received the doll. A friend even gave Dylan the crutches from one of her dolls so “Hope” can be more like her.
“Now I have three dolls that look like me but they’re all different,” Dylan said of her American Girl dolls. “One has short brown hair, one has no hair and one has a prosthetic leg, so they all look like me.”
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