Community Voices

Designer of superhero dolls helps kids with cancer ‘Bee Brave’

Bee Brave Buddies are bald superhero dolls that can help a child in treatment for cancer. Founder and designer Rosanna Bernstein can ship dolls anywhere to sick kids.
Bee Brave Buddies are bald superhero dolls that can help a child in treatment for cancer. Founder and designer Rosanna Bernstein can ship dolls anywhere to sick kids. Photo provided to the Miami Herald

Sometimes we need a superhero to make us feel brave enough to handle anything.

Rosanna Hope Bernstein of Surfside knows that. As a leukemia survivor since 1998, Bernstein says she is grateful she can now give back through the smiling bald superhero friends she makes for kids with cancer.

She calls them Bee Brave Buddies.

“I know how hard the treatment can be on the body and spirit and I wanted to give every child battling cancer a special gift for support and to aid in their self-esteem,” she said. “I designed each doll beautifully bald with a big heart printed on the back of his or her head. The girl dolls come with a big bow headband and the boys have little ball caps. The children can identify their loss of hair with these adorable little dolls.”

For a year, Bernstein gave out hundreds of the dolls she designed. She said she was excited to receive nonprofit status this summer.

“Any family or friend of a child battling cancer can nominate them on our website to receive a doll free as a gift from Bee Brave Buddies. We ship across the USA and also have shipped internationally several times now,” she said. “We also partner with pediatric oncology hospitals across the U.S. to ship boxes of dolls to the kiddies. Any hospital interested in receiving dolls can contact us to begin receiving our dolls. We ship both Caucasian and African-American dolls.”

An adult going through cancer can also use a doll as an educational tool to teach their children about hair loss from treatments.

“We have one boy doll, Buddy Brave, a silky soft super hero who it is rumored has magic powers to make his new little friends feel more brave than they should have to be at this early age,” she said. “Bestie Brave is also a super hero doll, for little or big girls, who will become this little girl’s new best friend. Our third doll, Catie Cuddles, is our snuggle doll with lace and fancy dress who loves to cuddle.”

Bernstein, who has Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML), gets volunteer help from her daughter, The Wall Street Journal columnist Elizabeth Bernstein.

“Before she founded the nonprofit this year, my mom did this on her own, and has given away between 600-700 dolls around the country. Many went to children in Miami-area hospitals, which she partners with to distribute the dolls. She also recently received an Awesome Foundation grant,” she said.

There are a lot of dolls ready to go, Rosanna Bernstein said. “I am hoping to encourage many businesses to give back to Bee Brave Buddies for the holidays. We have quite a few dolls ready to ship and we are in need of sponsors for these dolls.”

Her new nonprofit was part of the recent Give Miami Day on Nov. 17 as a charity that contributes to the Miami area.

“We have gifted our dolls to Baptist Children’s Hospital, Holtz Children’s Hospital at the University of Miami, Alex’s Place (outpatient oncology for children at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Miami Health Care), Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital and Broward Children’s Hospital in the South Florida area,” she said. “We have also shipped boxes of dolls to Palm Beach Children’s Hospital, St. Mary’s in West Palm Beach and Florida Children’s Hospital in Orlando in Florida.” The Awesome Foundation Miami Grant helped her purchase fabric for 450 dolls for local kids, she said.

Visit http://beebravebuddies.com/index.html to see the cute and colorful buddies and learn how to give one to a sick child.

You can also help through sponsorship in the Bee Brave Buddies of the Month program through which boxes of dolls are shipped on a monthly basis to hospitals caring for sick children.

“I am just very thankful that I was able to see my family grown and see my grandbabies and also to see Bee Brave Buddies born from my journey with CML,” Bernstein said. “I was so grateful. I knew one day I would love to give back to others who are experiencing the struggles of cancer.”

THANKSGIVING MEALS

Congratulations on the good work of those in the Rotary Club of Perrine-Cutler Ridge/Palmetto Bay and Miami-Dade Police who boxed and delivered 150 Thanksgiving meals and additional food for a week to families in West Perrine.

“The club has been providing the Thanksgiving Family Meals for over 10 years. We perform many services in the community, but this is a very special one that we are very pleased to provide again this year,” said club President Maria C. Kesti.

She said Miami Dade Police Officer Ron Tookes and his fellow officers transported the turkeys to the Perrine Plaza and assisted the members and students in local high school Interact Clubs with the deliveries.

“Again this year, Lorenzo Rodriguez, manager of the Cutler Bay Winn-Dixie store, provided the Rotary Club special pricing and extra food, along with his staff who delivered the food to the center,” Kesti said.

“This takes significant time and efforts to plan and provide the deliveries of all of the food, but it’s all worth it to be able to share Thanksgiving with those in need — it’s the Rotary way!” said Tayloe Perry, Thanksgiving Food Project Chair. For more, contact Kesti at 305-323-1530.

TRIBUTE TO LOVED ONES

On the second Sunday of December, groups gather around the world to light candles in memory of children, grandchildren or siblings who died too soon.

The Compassionate Friends Miami Chapter will hold its ceremony 6 p.m., Dec. 11, at Miami-Dade County Fair Expo Center in the Ray Goode Building, 10901 Coral Way. The free event is open to the community and the group invites all those wishing to participate to join them.

More is at www.compassionatefriends.org/blog/worldwide-candle-lighting or call 305-460-5762.

If you have news for this column, please send it to Christina Mayo at christinammayo@gmail.com.

  Comments