Social Web unearths rare 'bird' for boy battling cancer

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by DAVID SCHECHTER

Bio | Email | Follow: @davidschechter

WFAA

Posted on May 8, 2012 at 6:19 PM

Updated Wednesday, Feb 6 at 6:52 PM

DALLAS — For the longest time, it seemed that what arrived Tuesday in a brown FedEx box might not even exist.

"We've been trying for months," said Lesley Armstrong, a teacher at Meadowbrook School in North Dallas.

And then — in a single day — it all came together. All for a six-year-old boy named Michael Malone, a brave kindergarten student in the final stages of neuroblastoma cancer.

As part of her lesson plan for the last 13 years, Armstrong has used Doris the Dodo Bird to teach about extinction and endangered species.

But this year, Doris helped Michael comfort himself, taking the puppet to his cancer tests and treatments.

On Monday, Armstrong told us she'd tried for months (without luck) to find a new dodo bird for Michael. It had been out of production for 10 years.

But when the story hit Facebook, everything changed.

"It's all over Facebook,” Armstrong said.

Calls and messages from News 8 viewers were heard loud and clear by Folkmanis Puppets, the California company that produced the dodo. Folkmanis pulled the last remaining dodo from its archive and shipped it to Dallas overnight.

On Tuesday, Michael and his teacher opened the box.

"Oh my God, I can see it Michael! It's like when it's hatching," she said to the boy. "Oh, look at that. Oh my gosh Michael!"

But the replacement puppet couldn't beat the charms of Doris the Dodo Bird.

After a few moments, instead of the new puppet, Michael chose to keep the old one he’s cuddled with these last months.

Now, Michael’s got his dodo bird, and Mrs. Armstrong has managed to do for a sick boy what did not seem possible.

E-mail dschechter@wfaa.com

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