American Girl dolls are a bit of a big deal. They debuted in 1986 and have gone on to become a pop culture staple. What exactly is an American Girl, you ask? They are 18-inch dolls that depict nine to eleven-year-old girls of various races, social classes and beliefs. An astounding 23 million dolls have been sold in addition to over 143 million companion books, according to the American Girl website. Yet, despite these grandiose sales numbers, no American Girl doll has ever been disabled. Young, but fearless, ten-year-old Melissa Shang wants to change that.

Melissa is disabled herself. She suffers from a form of muscular dystrophy called Charcot-Mari-Tooth disorder. She hopes to bring more awareness to disabled girls around America and show her peers that "disabled girls are American girls too."  

Quite the enterprising kid Melissa has started a petition with the help of her older sister YingYing. You can visit the website and sign the petition to help Melissa quash needless stereotypes about girls like herself. Alongside an accompanying video, Melissa's message has gone viral on sites and news outlets as large as CBS News have picked up on her story. Her petition and video beautifully illustrates why Mattel, the maker of the ubiquitous dolls, should follow up on her suggestions.

"I want other girls to know what it's like to be me, through a disabled American Girl's story," writes YingYing and Melissa on the petition.

If a disabled doll is ever manufactured and released, it's very possible that it could be sold in an American Girl Place store. Only three brick-and-mortar stores exist, but they happen to be located in diverse areas of the country such as Chicago, New York and Los Angeles. Having a disabled doll she championed into creation sold in the New York store would be interesting. Melissa has visited the store in the past and it would be a very cool experience to have a product you helped create being sold in a store you visited.

"Will you join me and see my dream come true?"

In the spirit of inclusion, here's the full transcript of Melissa's YouTube video:

"Hi, I'm Melissa. I'm ten years old and this is my new American Girl doll, Saige. I've read all of the American Girl books and seen all the movies and I'm ready for an American girl who is like me. My sister YingYing is helping me petition American girl because I want to see an American Girl of the Year who has a disability like me. Disabled girls are American girls too. We face challenges and overcome them everyday. Please sign my petition and support disabled girls. Thank you. Bye!"

Are you a fan of the American Girl brand? Let us know what you think about Melissa's petition below.