Whimsical Wigs Bring Smiles to Children Undergoing Treatment

Beth Fand Incollingo

CHILDREN BEING TREATED FOR cancer may dream of having hair again, but many find wigs too scratchy and uncomfortable.

That’s why two moms from Alaska came up with a way to keep kids’ heads covered — and their hearts playful.

Holly Christensen, a mother and an oncology nurse, made her first yarn wig for a friend’s daughter, who was hospitalized for cancer. The girl was thrilled with the whimsical Rapunzel wig, so Christensen organized a small Facebook effort to make more for other children with cancer. Immediately, she was flooded with requests from parents and hospitals for wigs to give patients in their care, and the nonprofit Magic Yarn Project was born.

So far, Christensen and co-founder Bree Hitchcock, aided by 4,350 volunteer “magic makers” who create the head coverings or donate supplies, have delivered 7,150 yarn wigs to people in 36 countries — all at no cost.

Handmade crocheted beanies, also donated, provide the wigs’ foundations, to which volunteers attach long strands of soft, acrylic yarn and accessories such as gems, crocheted flowers, starfish, snowflakes and ribbons. The wigs resemble the hair of Disney princesses, and though most are designed for girls ages 2 to 10, there are a few styles for boys.

People who want to place orders, donate money or supplies, volunteer or start a local chapter of the Magic Yarn Project can find the information they need on the organization’s website at

“I have often witnessed the scary and painful world of cancer as an oncology nurse, friend and family member. I’ve always held my cancer patients very close to my heart,” Christensen writes on the site. “What started as a small project has snowballed into something much bigger than I ever expected.”
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