How a doll with a prosthetic leg is helping one young girl.

At first glance, you might not notice anything different about 10-year-old Emma Fletcher.

She glows with energy and innocence. But if you look beyond her curly blond hair and shimmering smile, you'll see that she wears a prosthetic on her right leg — the result of a rare birth defect that she has lived with her entire life.

Emma is a happy and athletic 10-year-old, but the reality is that her condition isn't one that you're likely to see reflected on the dolls at your local toy store.

So you can image Emma's surprise when her little sister presented her with a brand-new American Girl doll that had ... some special features.

When Emma first opened the box, it looked like any other doll...

(And like any other kid, she was annoyed and confused with her mom's insistence that she read the note that came along with the gift. Ugh, parents.)

But when she tore the box apart, Emma realized she had more in common with her new toy than just blond hair.

As she burst into tears, she exclaimed:

Emma's parents bought her an American Doll with a customized prosthetic leg — just like hers.

The doll came from a New York-based company called A Step Ahead, which offers their customization services for free — you just provide the doll. As they explain on their website:

"We feel that it is absolutely crucial to boost the self-confidence, self-esteem, and feelings of inclusion for little girls with limb loss, and that something as small as a doll that resembles them can have a profound effect on their mental and physical well-being."

The "doctors" who performed the amputation and prepared the doll's new prosthetic leg even included a personal note for Emma to read when she opened her gift:

That "life without limitations" part is really the crux of this whole heartwarming story.

Emma is just one of nearly 2 million people in the United States living with limb loss. Prosthetics have been around for hundreds of years, and newer medical advancements are making it easier than ever for people to lead fulfilling lives, unimpeded — and sometimes, enhanced — by their amputations.

So it's not that kids like Emma can't connect with toys or celebrities or fictional characters who don't have prosthetics. They can, and they do.

But they also shouldn't have to feel alone.

When people who might feel alienated finally get to see themselves represented in the world, it means the world.

Small gestures like this doll help kids like Emma feel like they're not alone. It lets them know that their experiences and struggles are real, and that they matter.

Check out the full emotional video of Emma opening her new gift below:

Just ... maybe grab like 10 box of tissues before you hit play. You're gonna need it.

More
Sony Pictures Entertainment/YouTube


A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD - Official Trailer (HD) www.youtube.com

As a child, I spent countless hours with Mister Rogers. I sang along as he put on his cardigan and sneakers, watched him feed his fish, and followed his trolley into the Land of Make Believe. His show was a like a calm respite from the craziness of the world, a beautiful place where kindness always ruled. Even now, thinking about the gentle, genuine way he spoke to me as a child is enough to wash away the angst of my adult heart.

Fred Rogers was goodness personified. He dedicated his life not just to the education of children, but to their emotional well-being. His show didn't teach us letters and figures—he taught about love and feelings. He showed us what community looks like, what accepting and including different people looks like, and what kindness and compassion look like. He saw everyone he met as a new friend, and when he looked into the camera and said, "Hello, neighbor," he was sincerely speaking to every person watching.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture
via ManWhoHasItAll

Recently, Upworthy shared a tweet thread by author A.R. Moxon who created a brilliant metaphor to help men understand the constant anxiety that potential sexual abuse causes women.

He did so by equating sexual assault to something that men have a deep-seeded fear of: being kicked in the testicles.


An anonymous man in England who goes by the Twitter handle @manwhohasitall has found a brillintly simple way of illustrating how we condescend to women by speaking to men the same way.

Keep Reading Show less
"Why is Dad So Mad"

Army veteran Seth Kastle had everything going for him when he came home from serving 16 years overseas. That's why it was so confusing to him when his life began to fall apart.

He had a job, a loving wife, family, and friends. He knew things would be different when he moved back to Kansas, but he didn't think they'd be that different. But he felt an extreme anger building up inside, a fire inside his chest that he couldn't explain or get rid of.

Kastle was unknowingly suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), an anxiety disorder that can develop after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event — like war.

Keep Reading Show less
Family
True
Verizon

If you're a Game of Thrones fan, then Gwendoline Christie aka Brienne of Tarth needs no introduction. While there was disappointment surrounding the finale, and the last season in general, Christie's character was one of the few to remain near and dear to the hearts of fans throughout it all.

Fans wept when they finally witnessed Ser Brienne of Tarth get knighted after six seasons of being one of the most honorable and integrity filled characters to grace the Game of Thrones screen.

Similarly, Brienne of Tarth's final tribute to Jaime Lannister left people both misty-eyed and eager to dedicate countless memes to the moment.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture