About those cranes

Posted in Uncategorized by Sean Holton on February 13, 2011

I promised that I’d keep everyone posted on the fate of those 1,000 origami cranes I received last November from an extremely caring and generous group of strangers in Palm Beach County. In case you don’t remember, they heard about my situation via this blog and just decided they wanted to do something to help me get better. So they got together and folded 1,000 origami cranes for me — in accordance with a Japanese legend that says such a gesture will help sick people heal. Such a collection of cranes is known as a Senbazuru. Part of the tradition goes back to a group of Japanese schoolchildren who made a Senbazuru for a young girl who contracted leukemia after surviving the 1945 atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima. For more background, read this blog entry.

Well, I knew I couldn’t keep such a wonderful thing all to myself. I wanted to share it somehow with my fellow patients at MD Anderson Cancer Center here in Orlando, in order to pay the gift forward and maybe help them heal, too. My first idea was to ask a well-known Orlando artist to create a giant mobile sculpture so that all 1,000 cranes could hang together in the atrium of the hospital’s main lobby. But that idea for the cranes didn’t fly, because the hospital had fire-safety concerns.

My next idea was to pass the cranes along, one-by-one, in envelopes addressed to other patients, along with a personal letter from me explaining where they came from and what they meant.  The hospital approved that plan, so I got busy writing the letter, getting 1,000 copies made and getting 1,000 envelopes printed up at Sir Speedy Printing. The video slideshow here explains what happened after that, when a group of my friends got together Feb. 5 at my house in Orlando to do the work of enclosing a single origami crane in each envelope. Thus was the circle completed: Strangers helping me heal, and then my friends helping me help other strangers heal. (Click Play button on image below to view slideshow).

I delivered all the envelopes to the hospital last Wednesday, and by the time I went for my chemotherapy infusion on Thursday they were already set out in trays on various patient check-in counters. I was also told that many of the medical oncologists at M.D. Anderson asked for envelopes in order to hand them out personally to their patients. I love the way this all turned out. I hope you do, too.


11 Responses

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  1. Kathryn Quigley said, on February 13, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    Yea! Cranes!

  2. fish said, on February 13, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    excellent!! what a great video! good sunday inspirataion!

  3. patebooks said, on February 13, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    let me know if you ever need another envelope stuffer. experience in college political campaigns.

    love the video and the blues (and the cranes)

  4. Jane said, on February 14, 2011 at 10:48 am

    I am so glad you were able to pass the good health wish forward! I love it. And I’ll tell my fellow crane folders about this posting. Stay strong, Sean!

  5. Justus said, on February 14, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    Sean: Wunderbar

  6. Charlotte said, on February 14, 2011 at 8:30 pm


    Judy Doyle is so fine, passing on your post regularly. I took a mental trip into the hospital, inside of one envelope, into the hands of a child recently diagnosed, into the radiance of the smile, parents sitting in wonder and imagined all future moments the crane will create…. it felt good!

    It’s V-day. We are walking around barefoot on the earth, hoping to wake up the snow drops here in Indiana. Our current heat wave of 40-50 degrees gives us hope, that spring does exist.

    Carry on!

  7. Molly BB said, on February 15, 2011 at 9:33 pm

    A great project that has brought pleasure to many and thanks to your idea, Sean, will continue to bring hope to many more. I’m so glad we were able to see each other while I was in Orlando and to make good on my promise with the BIG HUG, too! Thaniks for having us over. Too bad we didn’t get to help with the stuffing of the envelopes. Thanks for putting the slide show together to share with all of us. You’re often in my thoughts – take care!

  8. Jamie said, on February 19, 2011 at 11:57 am

    A wonderful gesture and a reminder of how the well wishes of others can add hope during a time of trial.

  9. Janice Blase said, on February 20, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    Sean…My world is richer simply for having you in it. You’re one of the good guys.

  10. jan godown annino said, on March 2, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    Don’t know you Sean but this blog is strong.
    Many thanks for sharing.
    We send books to our pal who is having chemotherapy for breast cancer in South Florida, to distract her during the process & all the down time & recovery etc.
    The paper cranes story is a favorite in children’s book circles & your sharing if here brings good attention to this idea. Forward!

  11. Michaeldalia said, on August 29, 2017 at 4:25 am

    wh0cd274740 go here

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