This project has been a great community effort. It all started many years ago when my great aunt passed onto me two beautiful dollhouses she built. It inspired me to utilize these pieces for a campaign about TS and NLD awareness. I decided to use miniature dollhouses as a “backdrop” for my campaign as Turner Syndrome shortens a girl’s expected adult height by eight inches if left untreated. I wanted my project to be attention-getting, yet the presented facts to be very memorable to any viewer. “Mini” houses could represent shorter girls and women. Other elements of symbolism were also built into “Turner Town.” The street signs suggest “smallness” (“Little Lane,” “Petite Street”) and even the main character’s name (“Joy”) reflects her spirit and demeanor. “Turner Town” is a “green” project. The collection of full-size dollhouses was recycled – each bought “second-hand” at rummage and garage sales, picked up as “cast-offs” from the curb on trash day or donated from generous relatives or even strangers who heard about the project! The miniature buildings were “fixers-uppers,” needing new paint or wallpaper, doors and windows or roof repairs. I conducted my own garage sales, fundraisers, and bottle/can drives to afford supplies to restore and refurbish the dollhouses and create the lending/reference library I have previously mentioned. Each house was fashioned and decorated in a different theme (Christmas, Halloween, spring, home school, medical office, etc.) which spotlighted a certain characteristic of TS or NLD within the storyline. The stories were meant to be entertaining, yet informative too as each focused on a different chapter in Joy’s life. Both adults and children can enjoy learning while playing with this inter-active village. “Turner Town” has been viewed by literally thousands of people at the display sites (libraries, community clubhouses, public dinners, hospital, hotels)
while others have read articles about the project in newspapers such as “The Detroit News” and the “Livonia Observer.” I have received lots of positive feedback for my efforts and was asked to speak at a college rally, church, Exchange Club, YWCA luncheon and Girl Scout troop meeting. Perhaps the most satisfying impact of this project was the chance to advise and support another family affected by these conditions. A pregnant woman noticed my exhibit on display at the library. She had just found out that her baby had Turner Syndrome and her doctors were not optimistic. They only told her the most extreme symptoms of her daughter’s condition and were not encouraging her to continue with the pregnancy. Since terminating her pregnancy was against her personal beliefs, she changed her medical staff and hospital. She was worried about the health of her daughter, but was somewhat relieved after viewing my project, especially looking at the “real-life” photo collages I made. She contacted me right from the library and we quickly became friends. Her daughter is now a beautiful, happy, relatively healthy little girl and the parents are better prepared for any future difficulties that might arise. It was such a good feeling to give this family some peace of mind.