A Struggling Young Doll Maker’s Inspiring Journey

It’s always inspirational to see the passion a young person has for a hobby they love and enjoy. Their eyes are bright with the possibilities of where their unique creativity could take them. Arriel Turner, 15, of Baltimore, has an amazing talent for creating expressive dolls; each one is unique, decorated, and a true work of art.

When she was 12, Arriel was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor, half of which is cancerous. Besides her rare struggles and impressive talent for sewing and embroidery, she is no ordinary 15-year-old girl. Arriel was active playing piano, and even has an alternate enjoyment for learning the Japanese language. However, perhaps what sets her apart the most is her drive and compassion for helping her family financially through their collective struggles.

It is difficult for any family to band together and make it through the dark times that a tumor, such as Arriel’s, can bestow upon them. An emotional and financial burden, medical hardships can be devastating. The Turner family is no stranger to the pain and hardships caused by medical misfortune. Arriel’s father, Mark, suffers from prostate and bladder cancer; her mother, Tina, who home schools Arriel’s brother with autism, suffers from diabetes and lupus.

As both of these strong and loving parents are on disability and unable to work, Arriel took it upon herself to raise money to help financially, and furthermore spread awareness of her family’s fight against their restraining illnesses. The response was overwhelming.

“I needed something to get my mind off of things,” Arriel said in an interview for WBALTV 11 in Baltimore, which first aired in December of 2012, just in time for the holiday season. After the story first aired, hopeful buyers flocked to the Woman’s Industrial Exchange (which promotes craft and community) in Baltimore. They sold out of her dolls almost immediately. “Her dolls are on back order right now until July,” said Treena Moore of the Woman’s Industrial Exchange.

Upon hearing that Arriel would be bringing more dolls, more people traveled to the store the very next day, some waiting for four and five hours, some traveling from New York, all to see the brave young girl behind the needle and thread and some to get her autograph on their doll.

Beyond the purchase of her dolls to help her family, Arriel wants their new owners to love and adore them. “I hope that they are happy and they like them,” she said.

Her family is continually amazed with the intricate detail that Arriel displays on each doll. Mr. Turner noted that she is a perfectionist and is never completely happy with the dolls, though everyone else is amazed. Though the tumor has left Arriel tired, and affected her eyesight and memory, which frustrates her as she learns Japanese, it’s clear that her creativity has not faltered as she continues to produce amazing dolls loved by many.


Read more about Arriel and her story here, http://www.wbaltv.com/news/maryland/baltimore-city/Teen-uses-talent-to-overcome-health-financial-obstacles/-/10131532/17835376/-/95jiokz/-/index.html#ixzz2WaJ8q300, view Arriel’s dolls for sale at the Women’s Industrial Exchange, or reach out to the turner family directly by emailing TinaTurnerDolls@gmail.com.