Within The Rock medical facility at 350 Heritage Way, oncology patients are greeted by a breathtaking display of 1,000 paper cranes folded by employees, staff, and patients of Logan Health, created by the Logan Health Palliative Care team. This inspiring piece entitled, “Migration of Hope and Healing” was the idea of Dr. Deb Lessmeier, one of Logan Health’s palliative medicine providers, who began the project as a prayer for the local health care community after two long years enduring the COVID-19 pandemic. “Folding cranes started as an act of acknowledging the trauma and grief we went through during the pandemic, and then giving wings to hope that we as a community can heal,” says Dr. Lessmeier.
The inspiration for the project lies in a Japanese legend that one who folds 1000 paper cranes will be granted a wish. Dr. Lessmeier found hope in the story of Sadako, a 12-year-old who had been exposed to radiation from the bombing of Hiroshima as an infant, and who folded cranes while wishing for healing from her leukemia. She folded 644 before she passed away.
Logan Health staff and visitors to the hospital chapel folded cranes for the display, along with the help of some very dedicated patients. When the 1,000 cranes were folded, Dr. Lessmeier and the Palliative Care team came together for a long night of stringing cranes, producing the vibrant mobile now on display in the hallway across from the infusion rooms, reminding patients and staff of the hope for healing.
During their journey to create the mobile display, the Palliative Care team members were aided by a patient who folded a great quantity of cranes while sitting in infusion receiving treatment for her neuromuscular disorder. With her efforts, they reached their goal of 1000 paper cranes, making the display a proper Japanese Senbazuru (the term for a mobile with 1000 cranes). But the project is not finished yet. Materials are available to patients and families who would like to fold more cranes, especially while they sit for chemotherapy infusions. As they showcase the display again this season, Dr. Lessmeier and the Palliative Care team are honored to offer patients and staff such a powerful symbol of hope.