At the Secaucus Doll and Teddy Bear Hospital, Ana Casas meticulously works on patients, taking extra care because she is working with the delicate subject of sentimental value. It can sometimes take months to fix one doll, but customers are always happy with the final product.
Ana is from Colombia, and moved to the United States 23 years ago with her husband Luis Casas. They moved to work in the famous New York Doll Hospital and decided to open their own shop in their town eight years ago.
Shortly after they moved into their shop, her husband began experiencing memory loss. He was later diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at the age of 55. He lives full-time in a nursing home and Ana visits him every day after work. She now runs the shop with her sister and her daughter.
The memory deterioration started slowly. He stopped being able to get dressed on his own and would get very frustrated by his inability to do basic tasks. His constant anger was very out of character for such a happy man, and that’s when she realized something was wrong.
It’s been very hard for Ana to run the shop without her husband. She’s very lonely without him and does not feel like she is going to get used to living life alone. He was more than her husband; he was her best friend.
She believes that there will always be a market for what she does because people always have sentimental attachment to their dolls and teddy bears and has no intention of closing the shop.