Holly Christensen, an Alaskan mother of three, is bringing magic to the lives of children with cancer by creating handmade “princess” wigs.
Christensen began making these wings last year, when she learned that her friend’s 3-year-old daughter, Lily, had been diagnosed with cancer. As a former oncology nurse, Christensen knew of the challenges that Lily would have to face.
“I knew having been a cancer nurse what she was about to go through,” Christensen said.
Lily was going to need chemotherapy which would result in hair loss. “She’s such a girly girl and loves princesses and [was] about to lose her long beautiful hair,” Christensen said.
Thinking of this, Christensen had an idea of creating a Rapunzel-inspired, handmade wig for Lily using soft yellow yarn. Christensen hoped that this wig would bring Lily some comfort during the difficulties of battling cancer.
“I knew she would be going through a difficult time, and that no one would be able to take her suffering away. I also knew that losing her long, curly blonde hair at not even 3 years old would be difficult for her, so I figured that the yarn wig could help bring a little magic and fun to a difficult time in her life,” Christensen said.
Lily loved the wig and would spend time admiring and stroking the yarn. Lily’s mother said that the wig helped Lily “feel like the beautiful princess she is.”
Christensen saw the joy that the wig gave Lily during her struggle with cancer and realized that making “princess” wigs could help other children with cancer.
Christensen created the Magic Yarn Project with the mission of creating and sending out Disney-inspired “princess” wings to children with cancer at treatment centers across the U.S. Christensen offers the wigs free of charge.
Since creating the Magic Yarn Project, Christensen has received tremendous support from her community and people around the world. Through a GoFundMe campaign, she has raised over $5,000. Christensen has been holding wig-making workshops in her hometown of Palmer, Alaska and has had many volunteers join to help make the wings. In addition, people in Scotland, Australia, California, and Minnesota have contacted Christensen, hoping to host workshops of their own.
The support has got Christensen thinking of turning the project into a nonprofit so that she would be able to have a more global reach.
“That’s been really neat,” Christensen said of the support she’s received. “To bring a little bit of magic into such a difficult time in their life is so rewarding. It’s almost equally been so rewarding and magical to meet people who want to help.”