Amy Lee Croft is recovering from a blood stem cell transplant after being diagnosed with leukemia.
A thousand small paper cranes, a gift from five Japanese students, were in a bowl on a coffee table in Amy Lee Croft's childhood home.
As Croft, now 32, is recovering from a stem cell transplant at Vancouver General Hospital, her mother is asking strangers to help her make 1,000 origami cranes to encourage her daughter over Christmas.
Croft was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia at Victoria General Hospital on March 9. She was taken to VGH to start chemotherapy two hours later.
"It's been very difficult," said his mother Alison Lockhart, crying.
Croft stayed in the hospital for more than a month after the diagnosis. Since then, she has been in and out of the hospital. She and her husband Joshua rented a suite near the VGH.
On November 7, Croft underwent a transplantation of blood stem cells after three rounds of radiation. She must now remain in isolation at the hospital until her immune system begins to recover. She's probably at the hospital for Christmas.
A few weeks ago, Lockhart attended a meeting with a group of friends she met during an exchange for Japan when she was only 16. The event reminded her of 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 tied in a line," she said.
She has valued the paper birds ever since. When the wire broke, she placed them in a large bowl on her coffee table.
Traditionally, it was believed that if one 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, began folding the cranes after contracting leukemia after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima during World War II. According to the story, Sasaki died before completing the cranes, but his friends finished the project to honor his memory.
Lockhart has created a fundraising campaign on Facebook called 1,000 origami cranes for Amy Lee. The donations will help her daughter with expenses while she continues treatment in Vancouver. She is asking anyone who donates to include a message that she can transcribe into origami paper and then fold into a crane. So far she has collected 89.
"I tell Amy that I believe you'll live to be 90 years old and be sitting on your patio in a rocking chair," she said.
She is also a person to consider becoming a blood stem cell donor by registering for Canadian Blood Services.