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1,000 origami cranes take flight at Golisano Children's

SYRACUSE, N.Y— An exhibit of 1,000 colorful origami paper cranes created by students at the St. Mary's Academy in Baldwinsville is the featured exhibit in the 12th floor art gallery at the Upstate Golisano Children's Hospital of Upstate Medical University. The cranes are depicted in flight as they are suspended from the gallery ceiling.

The cranes, created by Kelly McCann's sixth grade class from St. Mary's Academy, were donated to children's hospital patients as an offering of hope and peace.

"We were excited to receive the cranes and decided that they would make an excellent exhibit for our art gallery," said Amanda Griffin, specialty and community service activities coordinator and coordinator of the Safe Kids Upstate NY Coalition at Upstate Golisano Children's Hospital.

The inspiration for the project began when McCann read the book One Thousand Paper Cranes: The Story of Sadako and the Children's Peace Statue to her class. The book is a true story about Sadako Sasaki, a young Japanese girl who develops leukemia after the atomic bomb was dropped in her hometown of Hiroshima. According to the book, Japanese legend says that if you make a thousand paper cranes, you will be granted a wish. The paper crane has become a symbol of peace and hope.

McCann challenged her 19 students to create 1,000 origami paper cranes from the month of February until the end of the school year.

"The students had such passion for the Paper Crane Peace Project that they created more than 1,000 cranes in just 70 days" said McCann. "We donated 1,000 to the children's hospital and the remaining paper cranes were donated to the people of Japan following the Tsunami and to students at St. Charles Borromeo School in Syracuse. This project has certainly exceeded our goal of spreading peace and hope to many people."

McCann and one of her students, Katherine Benware, recently visited the pediatric patients at Upstate Golisano Children's Hospital to teach them how to make origami cranes and hearts. The children had a choice to either keep them for themselves or have them included in the exhibit.

The exhibit is on display through July 29.