September 23, 2021 by John Fernandez and Bethany Rundell
Bald Is Beautiful Project Delivers Hope to Young Cancer Patients (VIDEO)
A “badge of honor,” that’s how 17-year-old cancer patient Raquel Coronell refers to the baldness that many chemotherapy patients must endure. Coronell has been battling acute lymphoblastic leukemia since 2015 and lost her hair in the process.
Coronell and a childhood friend had an idea that could help convey her message of hope to young girls undergoing cancer treatment—they called it the Bald Is Beautiful Project. The organization raises money to buy and donate bald American Girl dolls to young cancer patients undergoing treatment in hospitals across South Florida and Colombia, where Raquel was born.
She feels lucky to have partnered with Sofia’s Hope, a non-profit organization started by Marta Blanco in memory of her daughter, Sofia — who passed away at the age of 13 — to deliver dolls to pediatric patients at Miami Cancer Institute. Sofia’s Hope aims to raise awareness of pediatric cancer, fund pediatric cancer research and help fund programs that have been proven to enhance the quality of life of children with cancer.
Coronell now sports short-cropped, red hair as she continues less-aggressive treatment that is allowing her hair to grow. She has raised $6,000 dollars for the project so far, funds that Sofia’s Hope graciously matched. Her outlook is optimistic, and she vows to continue fighting and sharing the dolls and her infectious smile with these young patients.
The whole experience made her realize the stigma that is placed on baldness, especially on young cancer patients. “I wanted to send a message of self-acceptance,” Coronell said. “It’s not just about going bald, but coming to terms with the fact that you are battling cancer.”
The Baptist Health South Florida News Team was there as the young patients were surprised with the special dolls. Watch it now.