Shadow Buddies and a Friend Just Like Me

The Shadow Buddies Foundation celebrates 24 years, providing emotional support for children with various medical conditions and disabilities — including ostomies.


These soft buddy dolls are ready for hugs and healing

One day, Miles Postlethwait, a little boy with an ostomy, came home from school and said, “You know, Mom, I’d like to have a friend just like me.” His mom, Marty, immediately went to work and created the very first Shadow Buddy, a muslin doll with heart-shaped eyes depicting love, along with a big smile.

This first doll led Marty on a mission to provide emotional support for children with various medical conditions and disabilities. The Shadow Buddies Foundation, a not-for-profit organization founded in 1995, now offers over 30 different condition-specific Shadow Buddies, including Ostomy Buddy, Self-Cath Buddy, Oncology Buddy, Pre-Op Buddy, and more. The Ostomy Buddy, available through an exclusive sponsorship from Hollister, includes a pouching system that can be attached and removed.

So far, 1.6 million Shadow Buddies have comforted kids across the United States, United Kingdom, France, Holland, and Australia. The foundation has also grown to include various charity programs. Pink Parties are dreamy afternoons of pure pampering for little girls in the hospital and their sisters. Volunteers bring in hair accessories, makeup, nail polish, costumes and more. These parties were started 10 years ago with the support of Tony Gonzalez, former tight end for the Kansas City Chiefs and the Atlanta Falcons, and his wife. Soon other NFL wives got involved and now various teams fund Shadow Buddies.

Little boys are not left out! Superhero Parties now take place in Kansas City, Chicago, and Texas. Attendees design their own courage capes and receive swag like Hot Wheels and other boy-coveted toys. Sometimes there’s even an appearance by a live superhero!

The Summer Backpack Program is now in its 16th year. The foundation donates over 1,000 backpacks a year to medical specialty camps to help kids get over the first day of camp jitters. They include a Shadow Buddy, water bottle, toothbrush and even a little note of encouragement.

Every year, donors hit the course for The Shadow Buddies Golf Classic to help fund several different initiatives. Miles, who is now 32 years old, married and works at Shadow Buddies full-time, spearheads this wonderful event.

“It sounds cliché but everything happens for a reason,” says Miles. “Look what we’ve been able to do with Shadow Buddies to help kids who are like me. It makes me happy to know that children who are going through a frightening experience are not alone.”

To learn more about The Shadow Buddies Foundation, please visit

Ostomy Shadow Buddies are available exclusively through sponsorship from Hollister Incorporated. For more information, call us at 1.888.808.7456