West Virginia man honors his late wife with dolls

West Virginia

WINFIELD, W.Va. – September 3, 2018, started out as a normal day for Loren and Donna Cardwell. The couple had been together since going on a blind date in June of 1989.

Loren and Donna Cardwell

Then, tragedy struck.

“It was a normal day until it wasn’t. Just a massive heart attack. Luckily, I was in the house when it happened, and I was able to catch her.”

Loren Cardwell, Creator of Donna’s Dolls

Donna passed away from the heart attack, and it shook Loren and their son, Al, to their core.

Loren made it a goal to honor his late wife with a gift he got her every year for Christmas — Barbie Dolls.

A drop off place for Donna’s Dolls

“Later that summer, she told me, she said, you know, she had all these Barbies when she was a kid, and when Brandy was born, she gave her all of her Barbie dolls she had when she was a kid, and that she had regretted giving them all away and wished that she had kept some of them.” said Cardwell.

With her generosity of giving her dolls away to a friend in need, Cardwell has been doing the same thing since her passing.

The mission is called “Donna’s Dolls,” which aims to help kids in the area receive a Barbie Doll for Christmas.

Cardwell said it’s all about the children.

“Everything that we do is for the kids. Because, you know, a lot of these kids wouldn’t have a Christmas. A lot of these kids, you know, don’t have the things that a lot of people do.” said Cardwell.

Some of the dolls that Loren Cardwell has collected for “Donna Doll’s”
Loren and his son, Al, posing with dolls they received for “Donna’s Dolls”

Even though it’s late-July, Cardwell is hoping to get the word out now about collecting dolls for the holidays.

“Everybody says, you know, ‘oh, I probably forgot, I probably forgot’. Okay, well, you ain’t gonna forget because we have to have the dolls by early November so that we can get them in to the distribution network so that they can get into the kids’ hands.” Cardwell said.

Cardwell is hoping to get to 1,000 total dolls donated since starting this mission in 2018. He is about 300 dolls away from that goal.

If you’d like to help out the Cardwell family and their mission to collect Barbie dolls for Christmas, you can either contact the family by emailing donnasdolls2018@gmail.com, or by mailing them to 1460 Erwin Road, Winfield, WV, 25213.

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