College of Nursing

Childhood Cancer Patients Benefited

3/22/2017 8:00:00 AM - Steven Tibbitts

Last Saturday in what turned out to be a landmark service project, over 400 people crowded the Wilkinson Center Ballroom to create Disney-themed wigs for kids with cancer. The project, sponsored by The Magic Yarn Project and the BYU College of Nursing, was a massive success.

“I did not expect to have so many people show up,” says Holly Christensen, a BYU College of Nursing alumna (BS ’06) and co-founder of The Magic Yarn Project.

The Magic Yarn Project is a non-profit group started by Christensen in Alaska. It relies entirely on donors and volunteers to make the soft yarn hairpieces, so the BYU event represented a huge increase in both productivity and publicity.

“We’ve never done a workshop this big,” she says. “I’m completely touched and overwhelmed by how many people came, and it’s hard for me not to get too emotional thinking about it, but it’s been awesome.”

During the five-hour project, 185 wigs were made, with styles ranging from Elsa to Jack Sparrow to Rapunzel and other Disney-related characters. This was a record number for the Magic Yarn Project, and during the event, many participants were touched by the potential impact of their work.

“I enjoyed this,” student Dhina Clement says. “I felt like this was the most productive that I have ever been.”

Nursing student Jessica Wright agrees. “This is an awesome volunteer experience because you feel like what you’re doing is helping someone,” she says. “You can imagine having the wig on a little girl’s head and how happy she’ll be when she sees it.”

Students were not the only ones working—many members of the wider Utah Valley community arrived, often with large amounts of children in tow for many hands to make light work.

“I heard about this through a friend from work, and I thought it was just a great idea to come and just put my effort into it for any of the kids who need it,” says Esme Still, whose children worked beside her. Also, six nursing college faculty participated braiding and crafting wigs.

Around half of the wigs made at this event will be given to patients at Primary Children’s Hospital, while others will be sent to patients in Louisiana and Arizona. The impacts of the project, however, extend also to the participants, who felt grateful to have been able to contribute to the event.

“I think it’s a really good opportunity to bring some joy to some people and it was easy and fun and simple,” student Sam Smith says. “It’s nice to wake up on a Saturday morning and do something for someone else.”

Anyone interested in future volunteer opportunities with The Magic Yarn Project should visit www.themagicyarnproject.com.