Desi Strong

A Father’s Heartfelt Vision

Terri Cechin approached us with a heartfelt vision: to create a doll that would resemble and honor his late daughter Desi, who tragically passed away from neuroblastoma cancer at the tender age of 6. 

Terri recalled how Desi would play with her stuffed animals, pretending to give them the same medicine she received, and how this brought her comfort. He wanted to create a doll that not only looked like Desi but also served as a therapeutic tool for other children battling cancer.

Desi Strong production doll with Packing
Capturing Desi’s Likeness

Our team at Sonos was tasked with sculpting a doll face that captured Desi’s likeness and developing a solution to attach and detach a catheter to the doll without leaving any marks or visible connectors. Terri insisted on this feature for its therapeutic value and to ensure compatibility with existing hospital syringes, just like Desi had used.

We requested numerous photos of Desi and successfully created a beautiful representation of her, complete with her radiant smile and the shape of her bald head. 

Innovating a Functional Catheter Design

The remaining challenge was to innovate a way to attach a miniature, removable catheter without using Velcro or leaving any marks. The connection needed to be compatible with the ‘Luer lock’ used for hypodermic syringes, ensuring adaptability with current hospital equipment.

After much thought and deliberation, a simple yet effective solution emerged. We added a metal plate to the scaled-down catheter and concealed a high-powered magnet inside the doll’s torso, where a patient would typically have their catheter to receive medicine. This ingenious solution not only allowed for easy attachment and detachment but also enabled the catheter to be removed permanently when the patient and doll recovered.

Overcoming Obstacles for a Christmas Delivery

Terri hoped to receive the Desi Strong Doll in time for Christmas, with plans to deliver several dolls to children fighting cancer at local hospitals[2]. Despite facing numerous obstacles, including a customs delay, our team persevered and managed to deliver the dolls just in time for the holiday season. Terri’s parents arrived at our office to collect the dolls, and the first thing Grandpa said was, “It looks just like Desi!”. Filled with gratitude, they took the Desi Strong Dolls directly to the Choc Children’s Hospital of Orange County.

The Impact of the Desi Strong Doll

The Desi Strong Doll serves as a beautiful tribute to Desi and a valuable therapeutic tool for children battling cancer. By capturing Desi’s spirit and incorporating a functional catheter design, we have created a doll that brings comfort and hope to young patients and their families.