Article by Jenny W Chan
Have you heard about the young sisters from Utah, 11-year-old Sam and 8-year-old Jo, who folded 1,989 cranes to help Taylor Swift’s mom “kick cancer’s butt?” I recently had the opportunity to speak with their mom and was so touched by their act of kindness.
Sam initially taught herself how to fold origami cranes by watching video tutorials on YouTube. This past Christmas, she and her sister received origami books and paper, and started folding even more projects, like various flowers and animals. Sometimes it was hard to follow the instructions in books, so they would watch even more videos. Sam then taught her younger sister, Jo, how to fold a crane as well.
Earlier this year, their mom introduced them to “Sadako and The Thousand Paper Cranes,” a non-fiction book by Eleanor Coerr, which tells the story of Sadako Sasaki, a Japanese woman who lived near Hiroshima, Japan, when the atomic bomb was dropped in 1945. Sadako developed leukemia shortly thereafter. Legend has it that if you fold 1,000 paper cranes, you will be granted a wish. So Sadako started to fold, in hopes of recovering from her illness, even though she was told that she wouldn’t have very long to live. Sadly, she passed away after folding 644, but her friends, family, and the people of the village helped to fold the remaining 356 to help Sadako achieve her goal. The cranes were then buried with Sadako in her memory.
After hearing this story, and the legend of folding 1,000 cranes, Sam and Jo, who happen to be Taylor Swift fans, began folding 1,000 cranes in hopes of receiving tickets to Taylor Swift’s 1989 concert. However, after hearing about Andrea Finlay’s (Taylor’s mom) diagnosis of cancer, the sisters decided to fold 1,989 cranes, instead, in hopes that her mom will “kick cancer’s butt.” The girls worked very hard for three months to complete the 1,989 cranes, and even delivered a 54-second personal message to Taylor on YouTube, entitled “A message for Taylor Swift’s mom.” The video was published on April 15th, 2015, and the cranes were shipped in mid-May. Let’s hope Andrea receives it and gets better soon!
Aside from origami, Sam and Jo are both competitive dancers, do very well in school, and enjoy camping and fishing. Both are well-rounded, and enjoy doing a little bit of everything. But that’s not all that makes these girls ultra-special. For their birthdays, they ask their friends to give gifts to various charities, not themselves. They are now continuing to fold cranes for children at a local hospital. They truly have a heart of gold. Need I say more?
I am so honored to be able to feature Sam and Jo’s story on Origami Tree. I hope that this story will inspire everyone to not only fold more origami, but to be kind to one another, give more, and take less.
I will be making origami crane earrings for both Sam and Jo to give to them what they have given to others. I asked them each to choose a color – Sam chose green, and Jo chose blue!
P.S. In case you’re wondering – thanks to a generous radio station, 101.5 / 105.1 The Eagle, the girls now have tickets to Taylor Swift’s concert! Great job, Sam and Jo. Well deserved! 🙂 xo
A Message For Taylor Swift’s Mom Original Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3f9MB8ttEg