The crane is a mystical creature throughout Asia. Cranes represent good fortune and longevity as they are believed to live for a thousand years. Folding and displaying origami cranes became famous because of a 12 year old girl named Sadako Sasaki. She developed leukemia from the effects of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima. Her goal was to fold 1000 paper cranes wishing peace; however, she died before she finished her cranes. Her classmates took up the call and created the remaining cranes. A monument called the “Children’s Peace Monument” was built in a park in Hiroshima. The monument is a large statue of Sadako holding a crane above her head and setting it free. Today, all over the world, people fold cranes and give them as gift to celebrate life events and as a symbol of love, healing and peace.
Rumi Nishimura, Founder of Cranes for Joy, started folding cranes in honor of her father who passed on from a battle with cancer as well as for friends that were diagnosed with cancer. In 2010 Rumi was the featured artist at the Celebration of Cancer Survivorship event at the Anschutz Medical Campus at the University of Colorado. Since then, she has continued to inspire, encourage, and bring joy to the lives of many people through the art of folding cranes.