Barbie debuts one-of-a-kind dolls in likeness of six women who are 'heroes of the pandemic'

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Barbie is honoring six women who are "modern-life heroes of the pandemic" with one-of-a-kind dolls made in their likeness as part of its #ThankYouHeroes program announced Wednesday.

The six women are "experts in their fields who have shown unprecedented courage during a challenging time," according to a Mattel statement sent to USA TODAY.

"Barbie recognizes that all frontline workers have made tremendous sacrifices when confronting the pandemic and the challenges it heightened," Lisa McKnight, senior vice president of Barbie & Dolls, Mattel, said in the statement. "To shine a light on their efforts, we are sharing their stories and leveraging Barbie’s platform to inspire the next generation to take after these heroes and give back."

Among the women being honored are two from the U.S.: Amy O’Sullivan, an emergency room nurse who treated the first COVID-19 patient in Brooklyn at the Wyckoff Heights Medical Center, and Audrey Sue Cruz, a frontline worker from Las Vegas, who worked with other Asian American physicians to fight anti-Asian hate during the pandemic.

"I’m so incredibly honored to be a Barbie Role Model, shining a light on the commitment and compassion all frontline workers exhibited over the past year and a half and every single day," Cruz said in a statement. "Kids imagine they can be anything but actually seeing that they can, and hearing the brave stories of others, makes all the difference."

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The other women who were honored include Sarah Gilbert, a professor of vaccinology at OxfordOxford University and co-developer of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine; Chika Stacy Oriuwa, a Canadian psychiatry resident who has advocated against systemic racism in healthcare; Kirby White, an Australian general practitioner and cofounder of the Gowns for Doctors initiative; and Jaqueline Goes de Jesus, a Brazilian biomedical researcher who led the sequencing of the genome of a COVID-19 variant in Brazil.

"This recognition highlights the courage, dedication, and commitment that all frontline professionals have exhibited not just in the last year and a half, but every other day," de Jesus said in a statement.

Barbie also announced it will donate $5 for each of their Barbie doctor, nurse and paramedic dolls sold at Target in August to the First Responders Children’s Foundation, which supports families of first responders.

The foundation's president, Jillian Crane, thanked Barbie and Mattel in a statement, saying donations from the company have already allowed FRCF to buy thousands of hotel room nights and food stipends.

"With their generous donations, we gave some joy to children across the country during a very difficult and scary time," Crane said.

Contact News Now Reporter Christine Fernando at cfernando@usatoday.com or follow her on Twitter at @christinetfern.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Barbie debuts dolls honoring 6 women who are 'heroes of the pandemic'

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