When 10-year-old Sydney Clarke arrived at school on Thursday, she thought it would be just another day. Little did she know her afternoon would include a surprise visit from Disney characters with special gifts for her.
Sydney, a fourth-grader at Davison Avenue School in Malverne, has lost most of her hair to alopecia. The special gift was two yarn wigs – one blonde, the other red -- from the Magic Yarn Project. They were delivered by A Moment of Magic. The yarn project makes wigs for children who have lost their hair during cancer treatments, Moment of Magic provides kid-friendly characters for visits to children. The groups work together to deliver the yarn wigs.
Her mother Glenda Clarke, who watched the presentation, said "She’s always loved people with long hair, loves their long hair, like the Disney princesses, she loves their beautiful hair.”
Amy Gardiner, a monitor at the school, is friends with Sydney, who has Down syndrome, juvenile diabetes, thyroid problems and asthma. She reached out to the two charities. “I saw that they mainly focus on kids with cancer,” Gardiner explained, “but the school approved, so I reached out anyway, and they sent us some wigs.”
Gardiner said Sydney is a sweet and helpful girl who lends a hand whenever possible, adding “she’s my deputy, my friend — she helps do some work, we joke around, I love her.” Gardiner took a breath as tears came to her smiling face, “Sydney, she’s amazing. She always helps everyone with everything.”
Glenda Clarke said of her daughter, “She has two younger siblings, and she grabs them jackets when it’s cold, puts Band-Aids on their boo-boos.”
Sydney's grandmother Pamela Hector noted, “Sydney is probably a little overwhelmed from seeing all this." Hector pointed down the hall at Gardiner, who had to stand her post at the door to welcome A Moment of Magic representatives dressed as Cinderella and Tinkerbell. “Amy’s the reason all this is happening.”
While the characters entered Sydney’s classroom to present her an updo-styled blonde wig and a red hairpiece with a long braid, Gardiner stayed at her post. “I can’t go in there,” she laughed as tears flowed as she dabbed here eyes with a tissue. “You can see what’s happening to me now. Imagine I was in there?”
It didn’t take long for Sydney to make her way down to Gardiner’s post — the two hugged as they examined her red wig and smiled at each other. Soon Hector made her way down and she hugged Gardiner, too.
“Sydney’s going to treasure these wigs for a long time,” Glenda Clarke said about her daughter. “She loves the Princesses . . . she’s our princess.”