The West

Paper cranes are a message of support
Paper cranes are a message of support

Inspired by a Japanese story of hope, a flurry of origami paper cranes from around the world have been folded and sent to Perth for seven-year-old Alyssa Spackman.

The Year 2 student from Kununurra was diagnosed with a rare and terminal form of brain tumour one year ago.

Following the legend of Sadako and the paper cranes, in which a young girl develops leukaemia as a result of the Hiroshima atomic blast, residents have followed suit and folded more than 1000 cranes.

A chance meeting between Kununurra school teacher Kellie Jackson and Kimberley Fine Diamonds manager Helen Thorne saw the idea come to fruition.

A Facebook drive through the “Moowoo” Facebook page saw more than 8000 followers asked to start folding.

Creating a folding onslaught, residents around town began creating coloured cranes in schools, homes, waiting rooms and stores to complete the 1000 target.

“We want her and her family to know there are so many people who care, and would love you to make cranes,” Mrs Jackson posted on Facebook.

Within two days more than 650 cranes had flooded in from all over Australia, Scotland and the United States.

“We are incredibly touched by the response. We have kids, adults and people who are complete strangers sending cranes showing their love,” said Mrs Jackson.

The same gesture was received by Mrs Thorne two years ago when her sister collapsed and was flown to Darwin hospital’s intensive care unit before she died.

Her friends banded together and, following the Japanese legend, created 1000 paper cranes.

The coloured paper cranes still hang in Mrs Thorne’s home.

“For my family, it was overwhelming to see the love and effort by her friends,” she said.

“I believe the process of making the cranes is more than folding paper.”

Folding the paper cranes gave people a tangible way to express their support, Mrs Jackson said.

“It’s like a rainbow of support for Alyssa,” she said.

“This is something physical that people can do for her to show they are thinking of her.”

By Wednesday, the folded total sat at 1050 paper cranes — with more flooding in daily.

The colourful collection, of 1000 cranes and one extra for good luck, made their way to Perth from Kununurra last Thursday.

They were carefully placed in two suitcases accompanying grandparents Bevan and Bernice Spackman.

A message from Alyssa’s mum on Saturday let everyone know the cranes were

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