Designed to be a friend “just like me”, Shadow Buddies grew out of the personal experiences of the company’s founder – Marty Postlethwait. Postlewait’s son, Miles, was born with numerous congenital defects. A passing statement, one coated with the innocence of youth, became the impetus for Shadow buddies. Miles let it be known that he really wanted “A friend that is just like me” – a friend to whom he could relate. Together, mother and son pooled their creativity. The first Shadow Buddy – Miles’ Buddy – came to life, a friend to whom he could discuss his loneliness, fears and frustrations. “Heart, eyes for love, and a big smile to make everyone happy” were Miles’ idea for all the faces. The Buddies look alike until you peek under their gown. For example, the heart buddy has the sternum zipper scar with a mended red heart (typical of open heart surgery). All Buddies have Miles’ thumbprint, the Shadow Buddies registered trademark, on the left hand.
With a lot of encouragement, Shadow Buddies, LLC, was launched in 1995. Starting with four Buddies, the Shadow Buddy family has grown to address 20 different conditions. Shadow Buddies are a 12-inch muslin doll designed to help children cope with their specific condition or illness, and to become aware of their appearance in a positive manner. Their new “friend provides psychological support and reassurance that they are not alone, and that there are other special children just like them.
Distributed since November 1995, Shadow Buddies are a regular part of treatment in more than 152 hospitals across the country. Community organizations, hospitals and corporations have adopted these special Buddies to support children with catastrophic and terminal illnesses. The cost of the Buddies are $11.00 each, and are manufactured in the United States. Shadow Buddies are given to children from hospitals, different community organizations and corporations who purchase the Shadow Buddies.
Shadow Buddies are recognized for the benefit and value a Buddy provides. Child Life Specialists, Doctors and Nurses are using Shadow Buddies as educational tools. It is a hands-on method for health care providers to educate children and their families about a particular disease, or condition and its treatment. Shadow Buddies also provide an opportunity for medical play.
The Shadow Buddy Foundation has been established with the goal that every child who would benefit by receiving a buddy, will get one. No child has ever been denied a buddy. As Shadow Buddies, LLC grows, so will the Shadow Buddy Foundation.