LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - Christmas is just around the corner and one Coast woman is making sure little girls in South Mississippi get a special doll this year.
Deborah Albert has been giving away dolls for over 30 years now. That generous move was born out of the heartbreaking loss of her daughter. Amy Michelle Walters was just seven-years-old when her life was cut short after she was hit by a car in Gulfport.
"This was Amy at her last dance recital," said Amy's mom, Deborah Albert, while holding a picture of Amy.
She said the pain was especially difficult during the holidays.
"It was hard to think about having a good time at Christmas and being happy and all the things you're supposed to feel at Christmas time. It was just real hard," said Albert.
In an effort to cope, Albert decided to do something creative. It's something she did every year Amy was alive.
"My younger sister and I just decided to go buy baby dolls and give them away," said Albert.
Albert was channeling her grief into something positive.
"When we finally found a couple little girls and we gave the dolls to them, it made us feel so good that we decided to do it every year," said Albert.
Since then the giveaway has grown. Today, four generations of woman in Albert's family buy dolls and give them away on Amy's birthday.
"We just have so much fun doing it, don't we? I think we do. We enjoy it. We enjoy seeing the kids," said Shirley Hickman, Amy's grandmother.
Albert and her family bought 65 Disney dolls to donate.
"Which of us don't have? I know there's a lot of people out there that don't have. That's why giving is much better than receiving," said
The pain of losing a child never truly goes away. For Albert, the act of generosity is something that keeps Amy's memory alive.
"I miss her. I know she's in a good place. And I'm happy that she's in a good place. I miss her. It keeps her alive in other people's lives," said Albert.
Amy would have been 45 this year. As part of her birthday celebration, Albert and her family members will go out and donate the Disney dolls. The family doesn't except doll donations instead they encourage you to go out in your community and donate a doll to a little girl.
Other women have been inspired to donate dolls also thanks to Albert's story.
If you do decide to donate dolls to other little girls please be sure to share your story of giving with Albert by visiting the Facebook page, "Amy's Birthday Doll Annual Give Away Day".