Sadako Sasaki was two years old when the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. The impact of the explosion blew Sadako out of her bedroom window and she very nearly died. Though she survived the blast, the radiation eventually gave her leukemia and doctors insisted that she wouldn’t live longer than a year. Sadako’s story so far might sound like a tragedy, but it is actually a story of hope.
There is an ancient Japanese legend that anyone who successfully folds one thousand paper cranes would be granted a wish. Sadako’s only wish was to survive and so she folded her very first origami crane. Sadako’s condition worsened over time and she eventually ran out of paper, but this didn’t discourage her or stop her from making cranes. Without paper she started using medicine wrappings and bits of rubbish to reach her goal; some of the cranes she made were so small that she needed tweezers to make the folds. Sadako died at the age of twelve on the morning of October 25, 1955, less than a year after she was diagnosed with her illness. She had only folded 644 cranes. Before she passed, her family gathered around the bed and requested her to eat something. She asked for tea on rice and someone hurried off to get it for her. She took a spoonful of the rice and after eating it, announced, “it’s good.” She took a second spoonful and passed away as if falling asleep. Those were her last words. Continue reading