Saanich girls get crafty for leukemia research

Grade 6 Royal Oak students create 1,000 paper cranes after being inspired by Japanese project

Sisters Reya Jamieson

It took nearly two years, but Royal Oak middle school twins Reya and Hannah Jamieson, and friend Lauren Poppitt, have folded 1,000 paper cranes.

It’s all part of a project the Grade 6 students started when they read the Japanese story Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes in Grade 4. That was two years ago and now that they’ve finished they’re hoping to raise $10,000 for leukemia research, starting with Saturday’s (Dec. 6) Christmas craft fair in the gym of their own Royal Oak middle school, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“There wasn’t anyone we knew with leukemia we just liked the story and started doing the origami,” Reya said. “We love making tiny things.”

“When I first started it took me about three or four tries to make a crane, now it’s about three minutes,” Lauren said.

The trio isn’t selling the cranes but are raffling off 400 of them in the shape of mobiles, which is how they’ve come to deal with so many. Ten mobiles in total are being raffled away for $10 per ticket, with the money going to leukemia research through a partnership with Imagine a Cure for Leukemia.

Dealing with so many cranes presented a challenged, which the girls solved when one of them came across origami dangling from a mobile.

“We played with it and thought 40 cranes per mobile looked good, and the math worked, as 25 mobiles makes 1,000 cranes,” said the twins’ mom, Mimi, who’s since perfected the craft of craning and has contributed a few along the way.

Millions have read the moving story of Sadako, the 12-year-old girl from Hiroshima who dies of leukemia related to the city’s 1945 bombing. But rarely does a student, or students, attempt to match Sadako’s goal of folding 1,000 origami cranes.

Though in Grade 4 at the time and not yet at Royal Oak, the trio set a deadline for the Royal Oak Christmas craft fair, knowing they’d be able to sell them there one day. They knew of craft fair through the twins’ big sister Naya, a former Royal Oak student (and crane contributor).

With the craft fair looming, Reya and Hannah’s living room near Beckwith Park is alive with 1,000 cranes. Or more.

“The first 200 we made in the summer between Grades 4 and 5 we put in storage. But when we recounted last year we thought we’d be at 500, and we were missing about 200,” Hannah said.

Unfortunately, the impressive looking mobiles will not be for sale on demand at this weekend’s craft fair, but they are available.

“We’re looking to do it by order, but we want to hang on to some because the girls had initially thought they would be used differently,” Mimi said.

“The hospital we offered them to couldn’t accept them, and we’re not ready to let them go yet, so we’ll make more.”

To learn more visit onethousandcranesvictoria.ca.

 

reporter@saanichnews.com