One Thousand Origami Cranes For Manchester Memorial Hospital

Jul 20, 2011 -  MANCHESTER, CONNECTICUT – On July 20, Manchester Memorial Hospital employees were pleasantly surprised and then extremely touched by a display at the entrance of the hospital’s cafeteria. A tall glass vase was filled with what appeared to be multi-colored and multi-patterned pieces of paper. On closer inspection, the tiny scraps of paper were actually 1000 origami cranes that had been painstakingly folded by the Manchester High School’s Asian American Association and donated to the hospital as a sign of gratitude.

The display was both eye catching and fascinating. But it was the write-up thoughtfully left by the MHS’s Asian American Association that tugged at the viewer’s heartstrings. It read …

Sadako Sasaki was two years old when her family fled from Hiroshima, Japan, days before the dropping of the atomic bomb on August 6, 1945. The bomb destroyed the large urban city and killed many people. Upon impact, the bomb also released a tremendous amount of radiation that quickly seeped into water supplies and spread to other areas nearby. Ten years later, Sadako Sasaki was diagnosed with Leukemia, the “atomic bomb disease.” Shortly after, she was hospitalized and given less than a year to live.

One day, her friend Chizuko came to visit her at the hospital and told her about the legend of the cranes. Chizuko said that the crane is a sacred bird in Japan and lives up to 1000 years. Therefore, anyone who folds a thousand origami cranes will be allowed to make one wish. From then on, Sadako began to fold 1000 origami cranes in the hope that she could get better again. Even at times when she was in extreme discomfort, Sadako remained cheerful and hopeful. Unfortunately, Sadako passed away on October 25, 1955, having only completed 644 cranes. When her classmates heard about her project, they helped her make the remaining 356 cranes. Word spread quickly and before long, students from all over the country, as well as in other countries, began to fold origami cranes. In 1958, a statue of Sadako Sasaki holding up a gold crane was erected in Hiroshima Peace Park. It serves as a memorial to all of the victims of the atomic bomb. Every year on August 6, students in Japan retell the story of Sadako Sasaki and fold origami cranes to relay the message of peace in the world.

…We would like to donate the cranes to Manchester Memorial Hospital as a sign of our gratitude for all that you have done in the community. Your mission to save and help lives truly resembles hope and peace. May all whom come into contact with this story become touched by it and motivated to spread its message. One person at a time, we spread hope for a peaceful future.

“Peace, crane. I will write peace on your wings and you will fly all over the world.”
—Sadako Sasaki

Eastern Connecticut Health Network (ECHN) and the staff at Manchester Memorial Hospital extend their appreciation to Manchester High School’s Asian American Association for its beautiful donation and the wonderful reminder of why we are healthcare professionals … to improve the well-being of all who enter our facility by providing high-quality, compassionate healthcare. Every time our efforts bring about healing, comfort, and peace to our patients and family members, we achieve the highest level of excellence.



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