Wanted: 1,000 paper cranes to fight cancer
Mom collecting origami to lift daughter’s spirits
A thousand tiny paper cranes, a gift from five Japanese students, sat in a bowl on a coffee table in Amy Lee Croft’s childhood home.
As Croft, now 32, recovers from a stem cell transplant in Vancouver General Hospital, her mother is asking strangers to help her make 1,000 origami cranes to encourage her daughter through the Christmas season.
Croft was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia at Victoria General Hospital on March 9. She was airlifted to VGH to begin chemotherapy two hours later.
“It’s been really hard,” said her mother Alison Lockhart, breaking into tears.
Croft was in hospital for more than a month after her diagnosis. Since then, she’s been in and out of hospital. She and her husband Joshua have rented a suite near VGH.
On Nov. 7, Croft underwent a blood stem cell transplant after three rounds of radiation. She must now remain in isolation at the hospital until her immune system begins to recover. It’s likely she’ll be in the hospital over Christmas.
A few weeks ago, Lockhart attended a reunion with a group of friends she met during an exchange to Japan when she was only 16. The event caused her to recall the origami cranes she received as a gift while studying abroad.
“A group of five Japanese elementary school students presented me with 1,000 origami cranes, strung on thread,” she said.
She’s treasured the paper birds since then. When the thread broke, she put them in a large bowl on her coffee table.
Traditionally, it was believed that if someone folded 1,000 paper cranes, their wish would come true. The birds became a symbol of hope and healing after a Japanese girl, Sadako Sasaki, started folding cranes after contracting leukemia following the A-bombing of Hiroshima during the Second World War. As the story goes, Sasaki died before completing the cranes, but her friends finished the project to honour her memory.
Lockhart created a Facebook fundraiser called 1,000 origami cranes for Amy Lee. Donations will help her daughter with expenses as she continues treatment in Vancouver. She’s asking anyone who donates to include a message that she can transcribe onto origami paper and then fold into a crane. So far, she’s collected 89.
“I tell Amy I believe you’ll live to 90 years old and be sitting on your patio in a rocking chair,” she said.
She’s also people to consider becoming a blood stem cell donor by registering with Canadian Blood Services.
I tell Amy I believe you’ll live to 90 years old and be sitting on your patio in a rocking chair.” Alison Lockhart, Amy’s mother