SEBRING — Payton Haynes, 5, smiled when he was given “A Doll Like Me” through the efforts of the second-graders at Cracker Trail Elementary School.
The special dolls are made by Amy Jandrisevits, of Wisconsin, for children who face medical challenges.
Payton has a medical condition called hydrocephalus, which causes fluid to accumulate in the brain.
Holding and hugging the doll, Payton said, “He looks just like me. He has the same scars like me. Thank you everybody.”
Payton’s father, Ryan Haynes, said it was an amazing effort by the school.
Payton had started pre-kindergarten, but because of his surgeries he had to stop going, but he will be in pre-kindergarten during summer, Ryan Haynes said.
The second-graders raised money through a wax museum project where they dressed up as historical figures.
Principal Richard Kogelschatz explained the students prepared a presentation and made a poster board. During the event in the cafeteria, when someone would drop change in a cup, the students would become “activated” and present a little talk on their character.
The students decided to pay for a “A Doll Like Me” for Payton and though there was a three-year waiting list for the unique dolls, Jandrisevits went to work right away to fulfill the request.
Payton’s mother, Kristin Haynes, said, “This is very special that these kids have such a kind heart that they voted to do something for a child with a serious illness who happened to be Payton. He was able to have one of these dolls that looks just like him. It’s really remarkable.”
The presentation was made in a courtyard area between classroom buildings where the second-graders had gathered to witness Payton’s appreciation. A student representing each second-grade classroom was given a hug by Payton.
The good news prompted television coverage from reporter Sean Daly of ABC Action News, WFTS Tampa Bay.