BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (FOX 9) - Like a lot of girls her age, Nikhita Stewart-Trivedi loves having a sleepover with her American Girl dolls, Luciana and Blair. She's disappointed, however, that the store where she got them is gone.
"Let's just say this whole room would be flooded with tears,” said Nikhita. “That's an exaggeration, but that's how I felt."
Nine-year-old Nikhita of Beaver Dam, Wisconsin suffers from a rare genetic skin disorder called Goltz Syndrome that left her with one leg, blind in one eye and only four fingers on her left hand.
She goes to roughly 20 doctor appointments a month, including a recent visit at Shriner's Hospital in Minneapolis, where she was fitted with a new prosthetic sport leg.
Going to the American Girl store at the Mall of America afterward often helped get her through the painful tests and procedures to treat her condition.
"Let’s say you just had surgery,” said Nikhita. “You're a little kid. Can we do something fun now? Ok. Let's go to the American Girl store and it’s better than ice cream or anything else."
Last week, Nikhita's oasis at MOA closed along with another American Girl store in Boston in what the company called a cost-cutting measure. So, Nikhita started an online petition to get Mattel to change its mind and reopen the stores. So far, she's collected about 100 signatures.
"Will they bring the store back? I hope they do,” said Lina Trivedi, Nikhita's mother. "What I believe American Girl teaches is that there's always an answer somewhere, but you are not going to find it if you don't look for it."
Nikhita has already battled a debilitating disease for her entire life and she hopes American Girl decides re-opening her favorite store is in the cards.
"Maybe if they see a whole bunch of people like them and they are really disappointed that they closed, maybe they'll reopen," Nikhita said.
FOX 9 reached out to Mattel, which owns American Girl, for comment about the petition, but has not received a response.