An Idea Was Born...
For over 2 decades, Rachel Gray, the Executive Director and Founder of Joy to the Kids, Inc., has performed professionally, from the opera stage to television... but there was always a whisper in her heart that she was meant to be doing something MORE. In 2012, her path came upon a girl that had just returned from a long hospital stay and all she had wanted was to meet a Princess while in the hospital, and an idea was born: why not share her talents and bring Joy to children in hospitals?
So She created Joy to the Kids, Inc. with the intention of bringing joy to children in hospitals, dressed as a princess or some other fun character. She thought that this would be just what they wanted… after all, who doesn’t love a princess?
But before long, she became painfully aware that some of the children fighting pediatric cancer were self-conscious. More than once, she had girls tell me that they wished they could look just like her, and have hair like hers (which, ironically, was usually an elaborate wig). She realized that what they desperately needed was someone that looks like them – a role model to take away the stigma of being bald, and instead make these kids feel like they are perfect, no matter what they look like. The world needs a bald princess.
The Mission & The Message...
And so in 2015 Rachel shaved her head and began acting as Princess Joy, The Bald Princess®. And yet, something was still missing. It is one thing to simply call herself “Princess Joy,” but it would mean so much more if she had a storybook to feature this character that helps children understand that we all possess a special power, a power that comes from within. In 2019 she co-authored her first book with Tricia O'Neill-Politte, titled The Bald Princess Discovers Her Superpower and has made it her mission to spread its message of love and acceptance: "You are perfect, just as you are." In 2020, the second book is the series was published, The Bald Princess Dazzles the Queen, and the final installment in the series, The Bald Princess Defeats the Darkness, is scheduled to be available by September of 2021. Members of the Jenkins Group (a publishing services firm) and Independentpublisher.com recognized Rachel and Tricia’s work. The Bald Princess, submitted as a three-book series, won the 2020 Silver Moonbeam Book Award for Best Book Series.
In this time of COVID-19, Princess Joy’s duties have changed. The princess cannot visit children now, but Rachel and Tricia are ensuring that their story continues to reach children. Rachel reads The Bald Princess on YouTube videos and Joy To The Kids hosts virtual events and works with charities to get books into kids’ hands. You can help. For every book purchased, a portion of the proceeds goes to Joy to the Kids. The books are available on Amazon. Learn more at www.baldprincessjoy.org.