How This Nurse's "Magic" Yarn Wigs Are Helping Kids With Cancer

A former cancer nurse realized that her work helping those suffering from the disease wasn't quite done. Upon discovering that her friend's 3-year-old daughter was diagnosed with cancer in 2015, Holly Christensen didn't go back to her job at the hospital. Instead, she went to her local arts and crafts store in Alaska, bought some bright-yellow yarn, and set to work making a long, braided Rapunzel wig embellished with colorful flowers for the little girl to wear throughout her chemotherapy sessions.

It wasn't long before others began reaching out to Holly with more yarn wig requests. Soon, the Magic Yarn Project was born.

"While not the most severe of side effects, hair loss can still be very difficult for cancer patients — especially for little girls — and chemotherapy treatments often leave patients' bare scalps too sensitive for traditional wigs," she wrote on the project's website. "To create head coverings for little cancer patients that are both comfortable and whimsical, Magic Yarn volunteers crochet soft yarn into beanies and then transform them into long, beautiful princess hair."

All the wigs — most of which are inspired by Disney princesses like Frozen's Elsa and Anna as well as the frequently requested Jasmine and Ariel — are free to their recipients thanks to donations to a GoFundMe page. In order to turn her simple idea into an official nonprofit, Holly is hoping to receive $20,000. As of November 2015, she had raised more than $6,500. Now 23 months later, she has raised $49,162 of an updated $100,000 goal.

No matter what, Holly wrote on the submission page, "we promise to hold firm to the spirit of the project's intent . . . magic is something you make."