When former cancer nurse Holly Christensen’s friend’s 3-year-old was diagnosed with cancer she could have gone the medical route and given the family oncology advice.
Using her extensive experience working with cancer patients, Christensen thought about what might help brighten the little girl’s day. Even though her friend’s daughter was still a preschooler at the time, Christensen knew that the loss of a full head of beautiful blond locks would come as a harsh blow to the girl.
She could have suggested that the family buy the girl a wig, but she wanted to go a step further. Instead of traditional real-hair look, she got crafty! What was the result? A very special gift.
She hand-made a princess wig. Whether you have a daughter or not, you probably already know the intense fascination that young girls have with princesses. Maybe you remember your own imaginary princess days or maybe you’ve seen the slew of Elsa’s, Cinderella’s, Ariel’s and Belle’s that pop up on your doorstep every Halloween. Christensen capitalized on the little’s love of all things princess and gave her friend’s daughter (as well as plenty of other kids) a ray of light in an otherwise sad situation. Thus, the Magic Yarn Project was born!
From that first little princess, the project spread to kids who were local to Christensen in Alaska. But. It didn’t stop there. The wig-making went on to bring princess head-gear to hospitals and communities in other areas. With a growing interest in the yarn wigs, the organization has gotten requests to start Magic Yarn workshops (teaching others how to make the wigs).
The organisation also reports on The Magic Yarn Project website that they plan on creating video tutorials in the upcoming future. Why? That way those who are interstate (i.e., not in the Alaska area), can learn how to help out and make princess wigs too. Along with video tutorials the organisation also has plans to develop workshops offered via Skype. The workshops aren’t just for experienced crafters. The organization offers tutorials for helpers of all ages and skill levels – letting everyone join in and help out.
The long-haired wigs aren’t the only part of the process that Christensen uses volunteers for. The organisation also asks for help creating soft crocheted beanies that the wigs are woven in to.
If you’re thinking that a yarn wig might look too ‘crafty’ or not be comfortable, stop right there. These meticulously crafted wigs provide long, flowing locks and are soft as can be. Made with plush acrylic yarn, Christensen and her helpers embellish the wigs with crocheted flowers, snowflakes, silk flowers, ribbons and gems (of course – what’s a princess without jewels galore?). The wigs are even machine washable!
When it comes to comfort Christensen notes (on the organisations website) that traditional wigs are often not comfortable for chemo patients. One of the side effects of the treatment, along with causing hair to fall out, is extra sensitivity of the scalp. A child undergoing chemo may not want to wear a regular wig due to this issue. The super-soft beanies and yarn ‘hair’ are gentle on the child’s scalp, making them feel as good as they look!
What princesses are currently available from the Magic Yarn Project?
Well, there’s the ultra-famously popular Elsa and Anna from Disney’s Frozen! Along with these pretty princesses, kids can get wigs themed after Rapunzel and Ariel, as well as non-specific ‘rainbow’ wigs (in other words – let the child imagine her own creatively colorful princess).
Not only do the soft yarn wigs add a bit of beauty to the child’s day, but they’re also completely free. Patients who receive these wigs in hospitals are never charged for them. With that in mind, the Magic Yarn Project relies on donations (each wig cost about $32) to fund the creation costs.
A hospital gown hardly shouts, “Glamour!”, and the hair loss that accompanies chemo may leave a fragile young girl feeling like she doesn’t even want to look in the mirror. But, that doesn’t mean young cancer patients can’t have a bit of glitz too. From Frozen’s Anna to Rapunzel’s classic mane, these wigs give beauty, light and hope to the brave girls who get to wear them!
The Magic Yarn Project are currently running a crowdfunding campaign on GO FUND ME, so jump on over and have a look. Any donation helps make a difference and we can see here just how much joy they bring to these little girl’s lives.