When Nghiep Luu’s son was born prematurely, Luu was moved to turn his passion for origami into a way to help children. And that is why he began a five-month journey last May to fold 10,000 cranes to raise $10,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Known as the master of origami in Danbury, Connecticut, Luu undertook the task of folding the cranes after reflecting on the phrase, “Nothing changes if nothing changes.” He said he was inspired by the famous story of Sadako Sasaki, a young Japanese girl who made it her goal to fold 1,000 origami cranes while undergoing treatment for leukemia. There is a Japanese legend which states that anyone who folds a thousand paper cranes will be granted a wish by the gods, and Sadako’s wish was to return to full health.
Luu’s piece, titled “My Wish To You,” became his way to continue Sadako’s legacy as he folded and then displayed the 10,000 cranes on one large wooden crane. “If a wish is truly granted to anyone who folds a thousand cranes, my wish would simply be the wellbeing of the children,” he said on his fundraising page.
Whenever he thought about giving up on the project, Luu said he would look at his now 19-month-old son, whose smiles helped push him to complete the project last September.
“This might seem to be a difficult challenge to some people, but it is nothing compared to the challenges these children are facing daily,” said Luu.
The first installation of the piece took place at the Western Connecticut State University Visual & Performing Arts Center. Luu has currently raised $1,610, and he hopes to show the piece in more exhibits to continue to build awareness and raise funds for St. Jude.
Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food — because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.