Gift of the paper crane

By on July 24, 2013



, Staff Writer

Finally they have reached their goal of 1,000 cranes. Clockwise from top right are: Maggie Fogarty-Harnish, Faith Irwin, and Holly Graves. (Photo by Peggy Fogarty-Harnish)

Paper cranes is an ancient tradition in the Japanese culture and the story has spread the tradition locally and nationally.

Sudoku Sasaki was an infant when the Thunderbolt atom bomb hit Hiroshima, Japan. Sudoku, a young Japanese runner, became sick with the bomb sickness (leukemia) at age 12. Sudoku, hospitalized, decided to make a 1,000 paper cranes. The old Japanese legend said that if a sick person made a 1,000 paper cranes before they died they would have their wish to get well granted by the gods. Sudoku only managed to fold 644 paper cranes before she died Oct. 25, 1955. But her classmates filled her dream of 1,000 paper cranes by folding 356 more paper cranes. In 1958, a statue of Sudoku was unveiled and every year it is draped in thousands of paper cranes.

An Ephrata, 7th grader Maggie Fogarty-Harnish is an avid reader who loved the story of Sudoku. Maggie heard about a little girl who lost her leg in the bombing at the Boston Marathon. Jane Richard, age 7, an aspiring Irish Dancer from Boston was at the marathon to watch her dad cross the finish line. The bomb claimed her brother’s life and left their mother with serious injuries. Maggie, an Irish Dancer at the Hooley School of Irish Dance in Akron, felt an instant connection to Jane, as did the entire Irish Dance Community including dancers all over the world.

Maggie was motivated to make a 1,000 origami paper cranes in the spirit of Sudoku, to bless someone who is overcoming a tragedy or illness. Maggie started folding cranes. She folded them at home, at school, recruited friends, and eventually recruited a group of dancers from Hooley. Four Hooley dance families including Holly Graves, Faith Irwin and the Ireland family, all from Lancaster, assisted in crane folding. They have finally reached their goal. One of the Ireland girls was also a recipient of 1,000 cranes from a friend in Japan after she had a surgery a few years ago. She was happy to have a chance to share the gift with another young girl.

Hooley school dancers also collected "Coins for Jane" to donate toward her medical expenses. It added up to $792.69. A check was sent to Jane’s Fund June 20 contributing toward the $1,024,065.14 that have been raised by families across the country. The Irish Dance community of over 550 international schools sent t-shirts and other items with dance images and logos which were sewn into enough quilts to fill a blanket chest which was also donated to the Richard family. To see the quilts and learn more about Jane’s progress visit "Wrapping Jane in our Love" on Facebook.

More CRANES, page A6

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