Joy Doll Hospital aims to send hope to Ukrainian children

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SOUTH CAROLINA (NBC) – Meet the doll doctor Leah Barcus. She’s the founder and executive director of Joy Doll Hospital and is holding one of the many patients donated to her to be restored.

Leah received her first American Girl Doll secondhand, and instead of sending it away to get fixed she decided to learn how to do it herself, understanding how much joy her doll gave her. She wanted to share that joy with kids and children’s homes and orphanages across the country.

"I kind of connected with the dolls and with the children and just came up with this idea to give them an American Girl Doll that has been restored,” Barcus said. “Well, and I got my first American Girl Doll. It brought me a lot of happiness. It was just really fun and it brought me joy, and I want to bring that same joy to other children that need help in the world."

Her passion for dolls and sharing joy is now going overseas to Ukraine. Thanks to a number of people in her corner, $40 is being delivered to kids displaced from the war.

"They don’t have anything to do while they’re just waiting for the war to end,” Barcus said. “They don’t have any toys they to leave them all behind. They leave their home behind and there’s like maybe there’s like no hope for some of them. So I really want to give them something that they can have joy in."

But for Leah, it’s more than just doing something nice.

"You at a hospital isn’t just giving dolls about giving a message as well,” Barcus said. “So it’s also ministry."

And as each kid receives their doll, inside is a message of hope …

"I want them to know that there’s a God that loves them no matter but every blessing you desire, every need you face and every trick you seek is found in Jesus," Barcus said.

… one that she hopes sticks with them forever.