Three stakes in California’s Bay Area worked with JustServe.org for a successful JustServe Magic Yarn Project to make wigs for children with cancer.
JustServe is a website and app where volunteers can find opportunities to serve in their areas. The Magic Yarn Project is a nonprofit organization created by two mothers in 2015 that volunteers to assemble wigs and head coverings of soft yarn, often styled after a Disney character or superhero.
As in October 2022, this year’s project was in the Saratoga California Stake Center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The San Jose, San Jose South and Saratoga stakes were all involved — in addition to friends of other faiths, community members and Girl Scout troops.
Lorraine Hepworth from the Saratoga California Stake said more than 390 volunteers showed up Friday and Saturday, Oct. 20-21. An extra session was added on Friday evening, and a session Saturday afternoon was for youth and their friends.
“We surpassed our goal of 200 wigs with 230 wigs for children who suffer hair loss from cancer and other medical conditions,” Hepworth said.
“Everyone worked so hard to make this a success [with] a lot of moving parts — the meals for staff were delicious, the setup and cleanup crews were amazing, the online registration, reminders and publicity, the three stakes that participated donated and cut yarn and provided supplies and manpower,” she said.
The Wenger family from Modesto attended the three wig-making sessions on Saturday and shared their story. Jaden Wenger was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia at age 12. He spent 224 days in the hospital, received 210 doses of chemotherapy and 166 blood transfusions. Jaden’s father told how it was hard for Jaden to lose his hair.
Magic Yarn co-founder Holly Christensen was friends with Jaden’s dad in high school, and connected with the family. She sent Jaden a homemade yarn Captain America beanie that he proudly wore to cover his bald head and still wears today.
Christensen, a member of the Church, traveled from Alaska to attend the two-day event.
“As a cancer nurse, I have learned that I can’t save the world. I can’t take the horrible disease away, but I can do something. I can bring some light into cancer patients’ lives and help provide a magical escape during an otherwise dark and difficult time,” Christensen said.
The volunteers wove the yarn into crochet caps, the Magic Yarn staff braided the yarn, and volunteers decorated them with beads, flowers and ribbons. Each wig was placed in a bag with a ribbon, card and picture to match the character.
The wigs made during the weekend will be donated to local hospitals and cancer clinics.