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Olathe woman weaves network of volunteers to help give sick kids encouragement

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OLATHE, Kan. --  They may be sick, but it's hard to break their spirits. That's the mission behind a new non-profit group from the metro that creates personalized dolls for sick children.

No sick child should face illness without a friend. That's why Olathe's Shannon Fouquet founded Feel Better Friends. She's helped organize volunteer crochet enthusiasts to make special dolls for ailing children.

In just under a year, Fouquet has weaved a network of almost 300 volunteers.  At no charge, they'll build a crocheted yarn doll in the image of each sick child, personalizing the toy in an attempt to send encouragement to ill children.

“We have parents all the time tell me, 'you have no idea what you've done for us. You have no idea how happy you've made our child’," Fouquet said.

The goal is to get the look of each doll perfect, designing lookalike friends for children who may be faced with scary times.

“These kids adore the fact that they receive a doll that has the same eye color and the same hair or wig color,” Fouquet said.

Fouquet's dolls have made it around the globe. She says she has dollmakers from Canada, Australia and other foreign nations making them as well.

Trina Dixon says she couldn't even crochet before getting involved in this program. Now, she prays for each sick child while modeling a doll in their image.

“You are thinking about the child,” Dixon said. “You are trying make the doll look like the child. The ailment or the handicap or the sickness that they have, you're praying for them to be better.”

So far, Feel Better Friends has created dollars for nearly 900 children worldwide. Fouquet says she knows positive energy can make a difference in a patient's healing process, and that's why every doll counts.

Feel Better Friends is seeking donations of yarn and other doll-making materials. You can contact them via www.fbfdolls.org or via their Facebook page.