Sun | Dec 16, 2018

Cancer survivor creates dolls, teddy bears to raise funds

Published:Wednesday | October 8, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Some of the dolls and teddy bears available at Island Dolls Plus Collections. Proceeds from the sales of 60 dolls and 50 teddy bears will be donated to the Jamaica Cancer Society. CONTRIBUTED PHOTOS

IS THERE anyone in the world today whose life has not been touched by some form of cancer? The probability of anyone answering 'no' is almost zero.

Over the years, many of Beverley Robotham-Reynolds' ('Dolly Lady') loved ones have been struck by the terrible disease, such as her father who died of liver cancer in 1996 and her husband (C. Roy Reynolds, veteran journalist) who died of colorectal cancer in 2011. Her mother has been a breast cancer survivor for 30 years, due to early detection, and, yes, she, too, was diagnosed in January 2013 with colon cancer, but as she stands today, she says thanks to God because she is a proud survivor.

She expressed profound gratitude to her medical team, which consisted of her family doctor, herhaematologist/oncologist, her gastroenterologist, and her surgeon, who all played an integral part in quickly and successfully having the 'grapefruit size' tumour removed once it was found, and then chemotherapy followed. Yes, we do have excellent doctors in Jamaica!

There is no question that cancer, of any type, is a killer disease, but proper and early screening can help to diminish the death rate. Unfortunately, there are those individuals in society who are diagnosed with cancer and cannot afford proper medical care, surgery, the high cost of cancer medication or even something less costly such as finding transportation costs to get to a medical facility for care. It is for those individuals why Robotham-Reynolds is very passionate about giving back to the cause and has made a commitment to the Jamaica Cancer Society to assist in various ways during 2014.

To date, she has garnered more than $300,000 in cash and kind for the Jamaica Cancer Society. No matter how small, she believes in 'every mickle mek a muckle', and gratefully accepted every donation anyone was willing to give in this very difficult economic climate. In July, she received the award for the Best Individual Fundraiser in the Jamaica Cancer Society Relay For Life event.

Raising awareness

It is now time again for Robotham-Reynolds to embark on another mission for the Jamaica Cancer Society, and from helping to raise funds for breast cancer awareness.

Her company, Island Dolls Plus Collections, produced an exquisite line of collectible dolls and teddy bears. All proceeds from the sales of 60 dolls and 50 teddy bears will be donated to the Jamaica Cancer Society.

Robotham-Reynolds target is to raise approximately $200,000 for this venture this month. All proceeds from sales of the products is made possible as tremendous support was received from Island Dolls' suppliers overseas, that donated the undressed dolls and teddy bears and doll stands. Local suppliers such as Hot Off the Press, Ping's Fabrics, and Sun Island Jamaica all joined in to make the donation a success.

The dolls are so beautifully dressed and accessorised that one customer said, "Wow! These dolls are unbelievable! I must get this (pointing to one doll) outfit for myself."

Another customer stood in awe and put her hand over her mouth as she admired the collection. The gown worn by actress Lupita Nyong'o and which was adjudicated as one of the Best Gowns at the Golden Globe Awards in 2014 adorns the body of some of the dolls. According to Robotham-Reynolds, the timing of Joan Lunden's (former ABC Television host of 'Good Morning America') revelation to go bald because of losing her hair due to chemotherapy and her appearance on People's Magazine cover could not have been more perfect because in the collection, there are bald-headed dolls which are receiving great reviews.

The collection can be found at Craft Cottage, My Jamaica and Casa de Xaymaca (International Airports) or by e-mailing

'Dolly Lady' and her suppliers will conclude their 2014 assistance to the Jamaica Cancer Society in December by donating toys to the organisation for children with cancer.

For Breast Cancer Awareness Month and beyond, let us all 'Support the fighters, admire the survivors, honour the taken, and never ever give up hope'.