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The Magic Yarn Project: Nurse Makes Princess Wigs From Yarn To Lift The Spirits Of Young Cancer Patients

This article is sponsored by Dignity Health

When young lives are touched by cancer, a roller coaster ride of emotional highs and lows can deeply affect patients, families, and caregivers. Among the many challenges especially traumatic for children is the hair loss, which is a common side effect of chemotherapy treatment.

Fortunately, The Magic Yarn Project is lending a hand of kindness. The inspired idea comes from Holly Christensen, a former oncology nurse based in Alaska. When Christensen learned her friend's daughter was hospitalized after a cancer diagnosis she tried to think of a way to ease her suffering. She decided to create a Rapunzel wig of extra-soft baby yarn for the little girl to wear during her hospital stay.

"I knew that Lily would probably have a hard time losing her long, curly hair," Christensen told NBC's TODAY. "I also knew that chemotherapy would make her scalp too sensitive and tender for traditional wigs. I thought this would be perfect for Lily — something that could comfortably cover her hair and something that could bring a little light into an otherwise difficult time in her life, allowing her to go back into the magical world of princesses and make-believe."

When other children in the ward saw Lily's long woolly braid entwined with daisy and ribbons, the response was immediate. Disney princess styles such as Anna and Elsa from "Frozen" resonate with little girls as they channel their storybook heroines in a post-chemo world. She even created a Captain Jack Sparrow pirate wig for all the swashbuckling little heroes out there.

Christensen then created a Facebook page for yarn and was surprised when donations and volunteer offers poured in. A GoFundMe page supports The Magic Yarn Project, to help create and ship yarn princess wigs to cancer patients all over the world. Since its 2014 beginning, free wigs have gone out to 180 children in 32 states and 11 countries. Community workshops and two how-to video tutorials posted online by The Magic Yarn Project guide others on the steps and materials required to hand craft comfortable and fanciful head coverings made of soft yarn that lift kids' spirits and brings smiles to faces.

This article was written by Laurie Jo Miller Farr via for CBS Local Media.

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