The Magic Yarn Project
This Childhood Cancer Awareness month, GoFundMe thanks Holly Christensen for providing magical escapes to our littlest warriors.
“I can’t do everything, but I can do something.”
When a friend’s daughter was diagnosed with cancer in 2014, Holly Christensen wanted to do something to help. As an oncology nurse, she could offer some words of advice to her friend, but she wanted to do more. She wanted to help her friend’s little girl find a light in the darkness.
Then, Holly thought about the princess wigs she had crocheted for her daughters. She realized that if she added a soft beanie underneath, a yarn wig would be the perfect gift for a child undergoing chemotherapy.
Holly never expected that this one yarn wig would spark an international movement—and change her life forever.
When Holly delivered the Rapunzel wig, her friend’s little girl was ecstatic. Holly couldn’t stop thinking about how much other children battling cancer would appreciate their own yarn wigs, too. She decided to take action.
Holly began hosting yarn wig workshops for friends in her small Alaska town. Soon, the workshops became so popular that Holly and her friend, Bree, decided to turn the Magic Yarn Project into a real nonprofit.
As Holly began hosting more and more workshops, she needed some help to purchase yarn and other supplies. With a small nonprofit lacking major benefactors and grants, Holly knew that the best way to raise money would be from Magic Yarn friends and fans—so she started a GoFundMe.
Soon after Holly launched her GoFundMe and shared it on social media, a reporter saw the post and wrote a story about the Magic Yarn Project.
Suddenly, Holly’s GoFundMe went viral, and donations began flooding in from all over.
“Probably the neatest thing for me has been seeing donations come in from all over the world,” says Holly.
“We’re so isolated up here in Alaska. To see donations coming in even from the Middle East is really cool. Without GoFundMe, our organization wouldn’t have had this kind of international reach.”
To date, the Magic Yarn Project has made and delivered over 3,500 free wigs to little girls and boys battling cancer all over the world. Holly says that they couldn’t have made half of those wigs without the campaign’s donors.
“In the best way possible, it’s really turned my life upside down,” says Holly. “Our whole garage is full of Magic Yarn, and if I had a bigger garage, it would be, too. Any possible space and time I have is dedicated to it.”
On top of running the Magic Yarn Project, hosting workshops, coordinating shipments, and taking care of her three young children, Holly still works part-time as an oncology nurse and hopes to do even more: “There are so many people who want to get involved. We’d love to take our workshops across the country, but our funds are all currently going toward supplies.”
In addition to giving thousands of children a little piece of magic as they fight cancer, Holly says that one of the most satisfying things about starting the Magic Yarn Project has been getting her own kids involved.
“My three young kids spend a lot of time with me as I work on the Magic Yarn Project. Because of that, they are more aware of kids with cancer, and it gives them a greater sense of compassion. This experience has allowed my family to learn to reach beyond ourselves and help others in need.”
Every year, over 10,000 children under the age of 15 are diagnosed with cancer—and that’s just in the United States. A little piece of magic like a handmade wig can make all the difference for a child battling for her life.
A Magic Yarn wig may not be everything, but it sure is something special.
If Holly’s story inspires you, please 👏🏽 and share.