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Photo: Volunteers met at Rivers Casino to make the Disney character-themed wigs, which are made out of soft yarn so children can comfortably wear them while they’re going through chemotherapy.

The Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh’s Northside hosted The Magic Yarn Project on Feb. 21 as part of their Rivers Gives community outreach program.

Story and photos by Hallie Lauer

The Rivers Casino, as part of their Rivers Gives community outreach program, hosted The Magic Yarn Project on Feb. 21. The Magic Yarn Project is an organization that creates Disney character-themed wigs out of yarn and then gives them to children with cancer or hair loss conditions such as alopecia.

The wigs are crocheted from a specific type of yarn, making them soft enough for children to wear while going through chemotherapy


Wigs include ones that represent Disney princesses, like Elsa and Anna from Frozen, as well as superheroes like Spider-Man and Iron Man. By Hallie Lauer

The wigs are made to represent a variety of Disney princesses, like Elsa and Anna from Frozen as well as Disney-owned superheroes, like the Marvel characters, Spider-Man and Iron Man. Disney closely monitors the program to make sure that the wigs are not being sold and to be sure that they match the strict guidelines set for the designs. 


The Magic Yarn Project is a relatively new organization. It started four years ago in Palmer, Alaska and since then, has spread across the country.

“Now there are chapter leaders in every state, and two in the bigger states,” said Jessica Ash, the chapter leader for the northeast region. “Pennsylvania has one to deliver to all the hospitals we can get to.”

Ash has been the chapter leader for a year and a half. She delivers 40 to 60 wigs every three months to the UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, the Ronald McDonald House Pittsburgh, and four additional hospitals in West Virginia and Virginia. 

People who are interested in volunteering their time can sign up online. Public workshops are held once a month, but private workshops can also be scheduled through Ash.


Rivers Gives is a community outreach program that operates within the Rivers Casino. They have previously partnered with Dress for Success and have donated money to veterans’ education and professional development. 

According to a press release distributed by the casino, over 50 team members have signed up to help with the project. This was the first time Rivers Gives partnered with The Magic Yarn Project.

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