Military kids learn to be resilient at an early age. Children who have a deployed parent may experience extra stress and anxiety. Thirteen-year-old Jayden Kirkpatrick, the son of a Marine Corps veteran, knew how it felt when his father was deployed so he wanted to help other military kids. 

When Jayden heard about the Daddy Doll Challenge he knew that he wanted to raise money to give back and help other children. Jayden’s first Daddy Doll was gifted to him on his first Christmas while his father was deployed to Iraq. While surrounded by family in Inidana on Christmas morning, there was a knock on the door. A box was delivered to Jayden containing his doll with a speaker. The message that played was Jayden’s dad saing, “I love you, Jayden.” Since then Jayden and his brother have had three Daddy Dolls. 

People from the community and local businesses have donated to Jayden, as well as many others from out of state. So far he has raised enough money to pay for 105 dolls and Daddy Dolls is matching his donation. 

—Jennifer Swartvagher  

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Photos courtesy of Tiffany Kirkpatrick

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