Published on May 16, 1997, the press release for Share a Smile Becky read: "Come Share a Smile With a New Friend! Share a Smile™ Becky® is the Barbie(R) Doll's Cool New Friend"
"Mattel, Inc. and Toys "R" Us invite you to the unveiling of Share a Smile™ Becky®, the first 11-1/2 inch fashion doll that comes with her own bright pink wheelchair. In addition, checks for $10,000 will be presented to the National Parent Network on Disabilities and The National Lekotek Center.
Mattel worked closely with Toys "R" Us and National Parent Network on Disabilities (NPND) to develop the newest member of the Barbie world. NPND provides a presence and national voice for parents of children, youth and adults with special needs. NPND shares information and resources in order to promote and support the power of parents to influence and affect policy issues concerning needs of people with disabilities and their families. Becky will be on the cover of the "Toys 'R' Us Annual Differently-Abled Catalog," which is produced by Toys "R" Us in conjunction with the National Lekotek Center which leads the way for accessible play for children with disabilities and their families through a nationwide nonprofit network of play-centered programs.
Share a Smile Becky is Barbie doll's friend with a disability that was designed so that the Barbie doll world will reflect the richness and diversity of the real world. The Becky doll's bright pink wheelchair was realistically designed, with iridescent mylar around the wheels and a backpack that fits on the back of the wheelchair. Becky will be available exclusively at Toys "R" Us stores and will come with a reply card to join WOW, Winners on Wheels, a fun boys and girls club for kids who use wheelchairs."
Share a Smile Becky was mentioned in an article for The Washington Post that was published on June 10, 1997: "Last month, amid great fanfare, Mattel launched Share a Smile Becky, the first Barbie pal in a wheelchair. But now, it seems, the rolling role model for the disabled can't fit through the door of some Barbie dollhouses, reports the Seattle Times. "It was brought to our attention that some of our houses are not accessible to Becky in the wheelchair," said Mattel spokeswoman Lisa McKendall. Becky can't fit into the Barbie Dream House but she can make it through the portals of the Barbie Folding Pretty House, McKendall told The Source. "We are looking at the accessibility of all Barbie accessories." Moreover, Mattel may also "continue on with dolls like Becky," but McKendall would not say whether that means new Barbie friends might have other disabilities."
Share a Smile Becky was also mentioned in an article for The New York Times that was published on December 25, 1997: "The market for toys for handicapped children is as much as $2 billion a year, according to the Toy Manufacturers of America, and could grow faster than the $20.7 billion toy market as a whole. To tap that market further, Mattel introduced a Barbie friend in a wheelchair this spring, Share a Smile Becky. The doll sold out in two weeks. Since then, Mattel has sold more than 100,000 of the $25 dolls, and cannot keep up with demand."