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Melissa Shang, 10, is asking American Girl to create a disabled doll. / Change.org

A 10-year-old is petitioning American Girl to create a doll that looks like her. A doll with a disability.

"Disabled girls are American girls, too," Melissa Shang, from Paoli, Pa., says in a YouTube video on her online petition. "We face challenges and overcome them every day."

Melissa has a form of muscular dystrophy called Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disorder and she uses a wheelchair. The inherited disorder causes muscle weakness and numbness, according to the CMT Association. Right now, there is no cure.

With the help of her older sister YingYing, Melissa created an online petition asking American Girl to release a "Girl of the Year for 2015 who is in a wheelchair so that all girls can learn about the difficulty of being born with a disability."

American Girl sells wheelchair accessories for their dolls but what Melissa wants is a doll with a story.

Every year the company releases a Girl of the Year doll with a modern day back story intended to show girls that they can do great things if they believe in themselves, according to the website. This year's doll, Isabelle, is a dancer.

American Girl responded with this statement: We appreciate the enthusiasm and trust our fans have in us to create products and stories that speak to diversity and inclusion, and we applaud Melissa Shang for her amazing spirit and positive attitude ... We receive hundreds of passionate requests to create a variety of dolls and books based on a wide range of circumstances, and we are always considering new ways to enhance our product lines."

Melissa wrote on Change.org: "Being a disabled girl is hard. Muscular Dystrophy prevents me from activities like running and ice-skating, and all the stuff that other girls take for granted. For once, I don't want to be invisible or a side character that the main American Girl has to help: I want other girls to know what it's like to be me, through a disabled American Girl's story."



Copyright 2014 USATODAY.com

Read the original story: 10-year-old petitions for disabled American Girl doll

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