We can feel completely powerless in the face of cancer. It is impossible to take away someone’s suffering, but Alaska-based mother of three, Holly Christensen, thought outside the box, and found a new way to help. With her partner Bree Hitchock and a team of volunteers, she is hand-crafting beautiful Disney princess wigs for children diagnosed with cancer. The Magic Yarn Project is gaining national attention for sending joy, warmth, and whimsey to little girls all across the country.
In 2014, when Holly Christensen's friend’s three-year-old daughter Lily was diagnosed with lymphoma, the former oncology nurse took action. Christensen sought to ease the difficulty that Lily would face losing her blond curls to radiation therapy treatments. She knew it would be important to keep Lily's head warm and comfortable during her time in the hospital, but she didn't want to knit an ordinary hat — she wanted to make something special. Christensen designed a soft Rapunzel yarn wig that, as she explained to Babble, "could help bring a little magic and fun to a difficult time in her life". Christensen reflects on the Magic Yarn website that Lily's response at receiving the special gift was joyful and it had a great impact on her demeanor during treatments. After such a positive response, she organized a group of volunteers to create a few dozen princess wigs for the other little girls in the hospital.
When she created a Facebook page requesting donations for the yarn, things really took off. Messages began to flood in from hospitals, volunteers, and people requesting wigs for their daughters from all over the country. "It lit a little fire inside me and I thought that perhaps I could start making these princess wigs and sending them to cancer centers around the country," Christensen told Mashable.
The small town venture became the Magic Yarn Project, and now they are working to distribute princess wigs to families in need, hoping to bring some light into their lives. Their GoFundMe page, started in September, is helping to off-set the costs of the wigs, which is an estimated $32 per wig from start to delivery. They are also in the process of seeking not-for-profit status and expanding ever further.
The wigs are made from soft "baby yarn" so as to not irritate the child's sensitive scalp. Creating these fabulous headpieces is a team effort. Volunteers send in handmade crocheted beanies and the Magic Yarn team attaches soft acrylic yarns, and embellishments in the style of Disney Princesses. Their current creations include Elsa, Anna, Rapunzel, Ariel, and generic “rainbow” wigs. They are planning to include Jasmine and Belle wigs in the future as well.
The Magic Yarn Project host workshops to train volunteers and video tutorials are in the works to share their method worldwide.
What could be better than crocheting for a cause?
Every wig that gets crocheted helps Lily and the many others out there get better and stronger every day.