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Girl who had Minnie Mouse doll by her side for 40 brain surgeries has 'sparkle back' after toy found

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Posted at 1:40 PM, Jan 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-08 13:40:01-05

A young girl who survived numerous brain surgeries was tickled pink to be reunited with her favorite Minnie Mouse doll after an extensive search when it was thought to be lost.

13-year-old Bryanna Ramirez, who goes by Bre, was born with a condition in which her brain is too big for her skull, which has prompted 40 brain surgeries since she was just 18 months old.

Her mom, Niki Dougherty-Ramirez, said that the Minnie stuffed animal has been by her side for each one.

"We were all shocked and beyond happy. You saw that sparkle back in her eyes that was missing while she was gone," Dougherty-Ramirez, told ABC News. "It was so nice to see her smile again. She [was] quick to put her into the crease of her neck where she keeps her and smiled so big. I felt like I had my Bre back."

When the concerned mom first took to Facebook to ask for community to help find the toy, the hashtag #FindMinnie became a trending topic on social media.

Bre last remembered having the doll at the Chick-fil-A restaurant on Horizon Boulevard near the Neshaminy Mall.

That restaurant offered a $250 reward and free food for a year to anyone who located the doll.

The "well loved" plush doll was found Tuesday night by Ramirez's younger sister in her bedroom while grabbing her pajamas out of a pile of laundry, Dougherty-Ramirez said.

"Bre must have put Minnie on the couch on top of the piles that needed to be put away," she said. "Last night [my youngest] went to get pajamas out of the pile and found Minnie."

Many of the invested friends and followers on social media, who helped search possible locations around Levittown, Pennsylvania, where Minnie was thought to have gone missing, were relieved and excited to hear the good news.

Dougherty-Ramirez said other people chimed in with less than kind responses, which she said "hurts so bad."

But ultimately the family, and especially Bre, are thrilled that the search is over and hope that she won't have to take the toy to any surgeries in the near future.

Bre's last three month hospital stay included 10 brain surgeries and she has been at home recovering for the last couple months, Dougherty-Ramirez said.

"We pray there is no more for some time," she said. "We know more are eventually in her future that is unfortunately her life but none at this time. 40 brain surgeries is enough."