A friend once told me that one of the hardest part about her daughter's chemotherapy treatments was when her vibrant little girl began losing her hair. Sure, as far as chemo side-effects go, it's a mild one — but it's also the side effect that most easily labels someone as a cancer patient. Young or old, it's a reminder of your disease every time you look in the mirror or get a reaction from a stranger.
But a new project from a former cancer nurse in Palmer, Alaska, is changing that image for little girls battling cancer. The nurse, Holly Christensen, had just finished making her own daughters some pretty wigs out of yarn when she learned that a friend's daughter had just been diagnosed with cancer.
"I knew having been a cancer nurse what she was about to go through," Christensen told Fox News.
Knowing how much her own daughters liked their Disney-style wigs, Christensen decided to send one to her friend's daughter.
"It's so precious," Christensen said. "She's stroking her Rapunzel hair and she's just like, 'Pretty soon my hair is going to grow back and I'm going to have real Rapunzel hair.'"
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Still, Christensen had no idea that her simple project, intended to cheer up her friend's daughter, would spread so far, so fast. She began getting requests from other friends and acquaintances whose children were battling cancer.
In response, Christensen created the Magic Yarn Project. Her Disney princess-style wigs are crocheted by volunteers and designed to feel soft and comfortable to the sensitive scalp of a young cancer patient. Elsa and Anna from "Frozen" are the most frequently requested models, but many girls also ask for Jasmine, Rapunzel and Ariel creations.
Christensen is able to give each wig away at no cost thanks to donations she receives through her GoFundMe page. She's currently seeking $20,000 so that she can turn the Magic Yarn Project into an official nonprofit. As of this writing, she's well on her way with more than $14,000 in donations.
With requests pouring in from around the country, Christensen and her team of volunteers are working hard to fill each and every one.
"[The recipients are] going to be really sick, and some of them won’t make it," she told KTVA. "It's really hard, but just to see that a little bit of magic can be brought back into their life, that makes a difference for them and it makes a difference for their family."