Anna Thaggard
Anna Thaggard
A Disney channel show had a major impact on a Neshoba County six-year-old, inspiring her to collect Barbie dolls for patients in the Blair E. Batson Children's Hospital.

The Disney show was about a little girl who, instead of gifts on her birthday, asked for shoes for needy children.

Anna Thaggard was diagnosed at three years of age with type one diabetes, also known as juvenile diabetes.

On one of her initial visits to Blair E. Batson, Anna's nurses made an effort to help ease her young mind about the scariness of being at the hospital.

"They [the nurses] told me that if I was really good when I got my sugar checked and got my finger pricked, I would get a special surprise," Anna said.

Anna received a 50-year commemorative Generations of Dreams Barbie as her reward for being a brave patient from the nurses.

Recently, when planning began for Anna's sixth birthday party, she approached her mom with the birthday party gift idea she had seen on the Disney show.

Pricking her own finger upwards of six times a day to check her insulin level, this brave little girl came up with an idea for her birthday called "Barbies for Batson."

Instead of receiving gifts for herself from the birthday party guests, Anna wanted the guests to bring a Barbie to give away to patients at the Batson hospital.

Anna's mom, Karen, who is a pediatric registered nurse at Neshoba Pediatric Medical Clinic in Philadelphia, thought the idea was great.

She said all of the parents of the birthday party attendees were very receptive to the idea of bringing a Barbie instead of a present for Anna.

Anna collected over 30 Barbies for her Barbies for Batson project.

Plans are being coordinated with Anna's endocrinologist to allow her to give patients at Blair E. Batson Hospital a Barbie as a reward for their bravery.

"I want to give my Barbies to kids at Batson Hospital to help make them feel brave and special, " Anna said.

"I just want people to know that if I can give up my birthday to help others, then everyone should be able to give up something to help other people, too," added Anna.

Learning to manage Anna's diabetes became a family affair once she was diagnosed.

Anna's dad, Billy, a cattle farmer, and her mom, as well as her older sister, Ashton, and two older brothers, Lane and Cody, dedicated themselves to researching juvenile diabetes.

"Billy is my rock," Karen said. "We bounce everything off of each other about Anna's care. Being an R.N., I thought I knew something about diabetes until we went through all of this with Anna. I realized I knew nothing.

"All of us have researched and poured hours and hours over every book, pamphlet and Internet web site we could find about diabetes. We wanted to learn all that we could to take better care of her."

Ashton, a senior in high school, realized through all of that research that she wants to attend college in order to become a pediatrician.

Anna is fitted with a pump that she wears 24 hours a day that dispenses insulin.

However, diabetes doesn't slow down this six year old!

"I like to play on the playground and play Barbies with my cousin, Noah and I really love my dog, Toby."

Anna said her favorite subject in school is math.

"We want there to be an awareness of juvenile diabetes," Karen said. "Anyone at any age can develop diabetes. It's not just an obesity issue. The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation is always needing donations for research and has several fund raising events during the year like the annual 'Walk to Cure Diabetes' that we have participated in hopes that soon there will be a cure for diabetes," said Karen.

Karen has to be very conscientious of what Anna eats in order to keep her diabetes under control.

"For us, it's all about moderation and balance," said Karen. She has shared some of their family's favorite recipes.

BT Bites

2 sleeves of Ritz crackers

1 package of real bacon bits

1 container of grape tomatoes

3/4 cup mayonnaise

Mix bacon bits and mayonnaise together. Let sit covered in fridge overnight. Place 1/2 teaspoon. of mixture on cracker and top with slices of grape tomato.

veggie bars

2 cans of crescent rolls

2 (8 ounce) packages of cream cheese

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 package of Ranch dressing mix

1/2 head of broccoli flowers

1 red bell pepper

1 yellow bell pepper

1 vidalia onion

1/2 package of mild or sharp cheddar cheese shredded

Preheat the over 350°F Lay out the rolls on cookie sheet to make a crust. Bake in a preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes; cool. Chop veggies. Combine the cream cheese, mayonnaise, and ranch dressing. Mix in veggies. Spread the cream cheese and veggie mixture over the crescent crust. into small pieces; mix veggies into the cream cheese mixture. spread over cooked crust. Sprinkle cheese over the top. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight, cut into bars and serve.

Barbecue Cups

3/4 pound lean ground beef

1/2 cup barbeque sauce

1 tablespoon chopped onion

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 (12 ounce) package refrigerated biscuit dough

1/3 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

salt and pepper to taste

Brown ground beef and onion. Add bbq sauce and brown sugar. Press biscuits into muffin pan. Spoon mixture into cups and top with cheese. Bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

Hash brown


2 pounds of hash browns

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups grated cheese

1-1/2 cup crushed corn flakes

1/2 pint sour cream

1/2 cup chopped onions

1 stick butter

1 can cream chicken soup

Mix all ingredients except 1/2 cup cheese and corn flakes. Pour all in buttered casserole dish. Sprinkle cheese and corn flakes on top. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour.

Chicken Noodle Soup

1 bag of egg noodles

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts

1 can cream of chicken soup

2 chicken bouillon cubes

1 vidalia onion

1/2 cup of chopped baby carrots

Mrs. Dash table blend and salt to taste

Boil chicken breast until done. Chop chicken into bite size pieces and add back to water with Mrs. Dash and salt. Add all other ingredients bring to a boil for 5-10 minutes. Then allow to simmer until carrots are tender.

Asparagus and

tomato salad with yogurt dressing

1 (10 ounce) package frozen cut asparagus, thawed

1 tomato, chopped

2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onion

3 tablespoons nonfat plain yogurt

1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon prepared mustard

10 leaves lettuce

Thaw frozen asparagus and drain well. In a medium bowl, combine the asparagus, tomatoes, onions and set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, cheese and mustard. Add to the vegetable mixture and toss until well coated. To serve, line salad plates with romaine lettuce leaves and spoon salad on top.

BBQ Chicken Salad

2 skinless, boneless chicken breast


4 stalks celery, chopped

1 large red bell pepper, diced

1/2 red onion, diced

1 (8.75 ounce) can sweet corn, drained

1/4 cup barbeque sauce

2 tablespoons fat-free mayonnaise

Preheat grill for high heat.

Cook chicken until juices run clear. Cube chicken. In a large bowl, toss together the chicken, celery, red bell pepper, onion, and corn. In a small bowl, mix together the barbeque sauce and mayonnaise. Pour over the chicken and veggies. Stir, and chill until ready to serve.