Teri Wilson
Updated Mar 23, 2015 @ 9:23 am

It all began when Samantha Mutschler’s friend—Katie Karp, then only 12 years old—was diagnosed with bone cancer. Samantha wanted to do something special for Katie, so she made her a fleece tie-knot blanket. Before she knew it, she was making one blanket after another as part of Katie’s Kause, a non-profit organization at the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children. Then in 2013, she taught herself how to crochet with a craft book so she could make hats to give away with the blankets.

Today, Katie is a junior in high school and Samantha, now 24, is still busy bringing comfort and happiness to children who are fighting for their lives. In the past three years, through Unraveled by Samantha Dawn, she’s designed and made 164 custom hats for kids battling cancer all over the world.

As she told her local newspaper, the West Orange Times Observer, “It brings joy to them; it brings joy to me. . .My dream is to one day see a team of ladies working for me in getting more hats out to these precious warriors.”

Samantha’s first hats were designed to look like colorful M&Ms, then she began experimenting by creating different animals. Soon she was getting requests for hats from children fighting cancer in other countries. It wasn’t long before the inevitable happened—she got her first request for a Disney Princess design. When little KK wanted a Rapunzel hat, Samantha couldn’t find the right color yarn, so instead of making a hat to match Rapunzel’s purple gown, she crocheted a stunningly gorgeous crown of golden Rapunzel hair interwoven with flowers. It was a hit!

Now the Rapunzel braid is Samantha’s most popular hat design, and overall, the majority of requests that come to her via Facebook are for hats that resemble Disney Princess hair. She’s transformed little girls into Princess Ariel, Cinderella, Aurora, Snow White and Tinkerbell. But she doesn’t stop at Disney Princesses, or even just hats. Right now she’s hard at work crocheting a gold Stormtrooper doll for an eight-year-old patient in California.

We asked Samantha what her favorite design has been so far. To date, her fave was a hat made to look like the beloved Sorting Hat from the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling. Samantha’s Sorting Hat went to a little boy named Ethan in New Zealand, who liked to stick his hand inside it and make it talk. Sadly, Ethan eventually lost his battle with cancer. After he passed away, Ethan’s mom sent Samantha a message saying that he’d loved the hat so much that they’d displayed it at his funeral.

Whether she’s making kids feel like royalty or superheroes, what Samantha does is very, very special. We think she’s rather heroic herself. Take a look at some beautiful souls wearing some of Samantha’s beautiful designs.

Samantha’s princess hair hats have even been worn at Disney World!

Our hearts are exploding!

Unraveled by Samantha Dawn is funded, for the most part, by Samantha’s mom and a family friend. She accepts donations via Paypal on her Facebook page. If you’d like to request a hat for a child with cancer, email her at Unraveledbysamanthadawn@aol.com.

All images via Unraveled by Samantha Dawn, with permission.