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The one hundred honoree: The Magic Yarn Project

Donor Story

The one hundred honoree: The Magic Yarn Project

Mass General Giving

The Magic Yarn Project transforms little girls undergoing cancer treatment into Disney-inspired princesses with wigs woven out of luxuriously long strands of yarn. Designed for young cancer patients ages 2 to 10, the handmade yarn-wigs resemble the flowing hairstyles of animated characters Elsa, Anna, Jasmine, Ariel and Rapunzel.

The Magic Yarn Project got its start when Holly Christensen, a former oncology nurse living in Palmer, Alaska, made a Rapunzel yarn-wig for her friend’s 2-year-old daughter who was about to lose her beautiful, blond curls to chemotherapy. The child was overjoyed, and Holly decided to make a few more. Her request on Facebook last fall for yarn donations garnered a torrent of responses from all over the U.S., and even Scotland and Australia.

Ever since, Holly and her co-founder, Bree Hitchcock, have been leading “Magic Makers” workshops with dozens of volunteers braiding and twisting brilliantly colored yarns. The volunteers also add touches of whimsy—sparkly gems, bright ribbons and silk flowers. Each wig’s foundation is a soft, crocheted beanie that does not irritate the child’s scalp, which can often become tender from treatment.

The Magic Yarn Project, funded entirely through donations, ships the yarn-wigs free of charge to young cancer patients at treatment centers across the world. To date, they have received more than 1,000 requests and are busy trying to make sure every little cancer fighter feels like a princess.