(CBS) Rebecca Sypin and Jane Bingham were friends connected by cancer and hair loss. Sypin's daughter, Kin Inich, had been diagnosed with leukemia in Jan. 2011 and subsequently lost her tresses. Bingham's locks disappeared during her fight with lymphoma.
Though their experiences with cancer were different, both women realized that young kids fighting the disease or any disease that dealt with hair loss were missing a positive role model. The two women started the Facebook group, "Beautiful and Bald Barbie! Let's see if we can get it made," in order to petition Mattel to make the famous doll an ambassador for this girl empowerment message.
"We are not demanding; we are not asking people to boycott," Sypin explained to CBS News. "That wasn't our goal at all. We're just trying to raise awareness."
Bingham initially pitched the idea to Sypin, who begged to to be allowed to help on the project. They started the page a few days before Christmas 2011, just hoping to get 500 likes on their page. Now, almost 18,000 likes later, they've far surpassed their goal.
"I think (that we've become successful) because one, it involves children and two, so many people are affected by cancer," Sypin explained.
The two have been doing all they can to promote the project, from doing interviews with the press to calling Mattel themselves. Unfortunately, Mattel told them they do not solicit outside ideas, but Sypin hopes that with enough public support, the company might be persuaded to put the doll into production.
Ideally, Bingham and Sypin would love if Mattel jumped on board and had proceeds from doll sales donated to children's cancer research and treatment, but they're open to other companies who might be interested in working with them. "We're not opposed to that. We're just trying to say there's a demand for this. Can we make it happen?" Sypin said.
Even though Sypin's 12-year-old daughter might be too old for Barbie, she too is excited for the doll and can't wait to pick one or two up at the store. Said Sypin, "She said as soon as it gets made she's going to buy a bunch and give it to the children's hospital for anyone that wants them."