Ella Dabney

KNX Hero of the Week
Thursday, November 7th
Therapy dolls are often used with small children who are in the hospital preparing for a procedure. 

But not every hospital has them. So, our KNX Hero of the Week has hand-sewn dozens of the special dolls to help calm the nerves of many young Southern California patients. ​

It can be scary for a child who's about to undergo surgery.

"So, a medical therapy doll is a doll that looks somewhat like a gingerbread person, and they're very plain," explains Mira Costa High School student Ella Dabney. "They are used by a child specialist, to explain to pediatric patients what kind of procedures they will endure." 

Over the last year and half, Ella has donated around eighty dolls to the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. 

It can be hard for young patients to understand big medical terms, so the dolls become a sort of medical role-play. "To show where the IV will go, where a breathing tube will go," says Ella. "They will put an actual breathing tube on the doll, so that [patients] feel more comfortable and understand what they are going to go through." 

Ella's project garnered her the Girl Scout's Gold Award. The teen from Manhattan Beach says she reached out to hospital officials and asked what some their needs were, and that's how the idea came about. 

Each doll is customizable. Patients can add decorations or clothing, and can take them home after surgery. 

Ella not only sews the dolls herself, she teaches others how to make them, too. "I've taught classes at the Manhattan Beach Joslyn Senior Center and the Manhattan Beach Library​, to educate the community on what medical play is. Because, most people don't know what it is, and how it's used in a hospital." 

The 18-year-old has also shared her work with other Girl Scouts and classmates, hoping that the comfort project carries on after she graduates. 

Librarian Claire Moore has worked with Ella on several youth projects, like this one. "You can tell she has a heart for service. A heart for serving, specifically youth. She's super compassionate," says Claire.  

Going above and beyond, helping young patients handle the intimidation of surgery. High school student Ella Dabney is our KNX Hero of the Week!

KNX Heroes is presented by California Resources Corporation, which salutes our military veterans, and all of our heroes! 

You can find out more about Ella and her therapy dolls on her Instagram page, at https://www.instagram.com/sew.much.luv/

Heather Jordan, KNX 1070 News Radio.