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  • Writer's pictureHarper Hanson

Welcome to Cranes For Change

There was once a courageous young girl named Sadako Sasaki born in Japan in 1943. She was an imaginative and active girl whose journey ended far too early, after contracting Leukemia from the drop of the Atomic Bombs in Japan. As Sadako’s cancer progressed, her best friend thought of something to keep her friend's spirits high; folding a paper crane. There is a Japanese legend that if you fold one thousand paper cranes, you will be granted a wish, Sadako's wish, to get better. Sadako Sasaki died with 644 paper cranes folded, but her story and her courage live within the millions who have heard her story. Today, the paper crane is a symbol of hope, courage, peace, and recovery; a symbol that generates hope for many who are suffering from an array of illnesses.

I first heard the story of Sadako when I was in second grade, and her story stuck with me until I would learn about it again in ninth grade and inspired by her own story began to learn and fold my own paper cranes, but it was not the wish to be recovered from my mental nor chronic illness that made me fold them, but the hope the crane brought me. To me the paper crane has always been a symbol of hope, peace, courage, and surviving the worst; it was the symbol that would carry me through my various mental health and pain treatments. The crane made me hope for peace and find happy moments even on the hardest of days of treatment. Folding them made me feel calm and accomplished, it made me feel like I was doing something good, something that could help change something, or something that could help people.

And thus, Cranes For Change was born.

Cranes For Change is a project I am launching in order to spread hope, support, and healing to those who are struggling with mental health while in treatment, through a letter of hope. I specifically chose psychiatric patients in treatment, because I so deeply remember the fear and isolation associated with my treatment. My goal is for hospitals, therapists, and other mental health care providers to see this story and send me an email at

From there they can request any amount of notes, and these notes will be shipped to the treatment center free of charge for patients to take out of a basket if they so choose.

So what is a Cranes For Change Note?

A Cranes For Change Note is exactly what I needed to hear while in treatment: a letter of encouragement and hope. Each letter begins with explaining the symbolism of a paper crane and includes a hand folded crane. Next, come some words of encouragement and hope that vary from letter to letter, but stay along the line of you are not alone and there is always hope for you. Each Note is written in a hand-designed card and includes a paper crane, and the handwritten letter, only signed by the writer's first name with no personal information included. Each letter is unique and appropriate for the care setting of patients from inpatient to outpatient.

If you have any questions or to ask for letters to be sent contact me at, or find more contact information on the Contact page.

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