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'Something so beautiful' | 6-year-old girl's doll undergoes 'surgery' for matching scars

Born prematurely, with a blood clot above her right elbow, Isabella Proffit, 6, has already undergone five surgeries, and she has scars to prove it.

NEW ORLEANS — Health care workers at Children's Hospital New Orleans recently worked with a unique patient. Bells is an American Girl Doll who is now helping a little girl in Belle Chasse feel a little better about her scars. 

Born prematurely, with a blood clot above her right elbow, Isabella Proffit, 6, has already undergone five surgeries, and she has scars to prove it. 

"They were actually telling us the probability of surviving was slim," her mom Wendy Proffit said. 

The surgeries left Isabella with prominent scarring on her right arm.

Each one had a rehabilitation period. Her scars got a little more pronounced, and a 6-year-old girl has started to realize maybe she's a little bit different, Wendy Proffit said.

Thanks to Children's Hospital in New Orleans, Isabella now has someone just like her. Her mother asked her therapist if there was any way to give her Isabella's American Girl doll, Bells, the same scars. She was put in touch with Krista Swan, a child life specialist at Children's Hospital. 

"She said 'I don't know anybody who does it, but I would try it,'" Proffit said. 

"I'm like, 'I'm pretty artistic. I think I could figure it out,'" Swan said. 

Like Isabella, Bells would experience the same hospital visit.

"I was like 'let's see what else we can do,'" Swan explained how she organized Bells' visit like a real surgery. "Taking her blood pressure, and feeding her juice."

"They weighed her, measured her. They did all of it," Proffit said. 

With some watercolor pencils and a special coating, Swan gave Bells the same surgery, resulting in the same scars.

"It was really cool to help her because she was so self-conscious and insecure, and it really hit home for me because I have a scar too from something I've walked through. I know how hard it can be," Swan said. 

"The scars are not just on the forearm. She got the one on the hand, wrist, thumb. The level of detail is outstanding, all identical scars," Proffit said. "It was amazing that someone took the time to do something so beautiful for my little girl and help her feel beautiful about something she's not so sure about yet."

The two now have matching outfits, matching haircuts, and matching scars that represent their matching strength. 

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