The Story


The Beginning...

Betsy and I have been friends since grade school. Being the first friend diagnosed with breast cancer this really struck close to home. She had two young kids at the time, I had a young child. We were able to have frank discussions about her condition being her friend and a nurse.  Along with the others in her life, I started going to her doctor visits, helping out at home, keeping her company and laughing, supporting her through the nausea, reminiscing about the good old days, and more.   All the while, folding cranes.    Along the way, her family members and friends also helped and we reached 1000 in 5 months. This act of folding became a form of meditation and comfort when I found myself worrying about Betsy. It gave me something visual and tactile to do with my worries. I gave them to her about the time she was having reconstructive surgery.

New Horizons Develop...

Over time, these cranes became an integral part of my life, folding them whenever I was fidgety, seeing them in art, finding out more about the Japanese culture, even getting a tattoo of a pink one on my breast!!  Inspired by “Cow Parade” that came through Kansas City (life-sized cows with whimsical decorations), I thought it would be fun to do something similar with cranes (but on a much smaller scale). I launched the "Breast Cancer Cranes" in July 2003 - folded on pink card stock paper and adorned with all sorts of whimsical and interesting pink materials.  I was featured in the Kansas City Star "Getting Started" section, July 2003 and had my birds at area shops and galleries.

Word Got Out...

People purchased them for others - I was approached by various organizations to tell the story, to teach them and others to fold, by friends of someone who was struggling and wanted to do something as a gesture for them, and then those who just thought the cranes are beautiful in themselves and wanted one to remind them of their significance.

  became a more practical name for this phenomenon (the name coined by Kayoko). This could include both the act of folding for someone or some cause, as well as describe all my singular crane designs, (those I started designing in white,  as well as my newest designs “Crane Couture”). In lieu of sympathy cards and the usual sentiments, my designer cranes are uplifting, humorous and whimsical. For those who choose to fold cranes for someone, it gives the folder something tangible to do with their concern and worry as well as give such joy to those who receive them. When people meet in groups to fold, it brings a sense of community to the act.

                                      The story continues to unfold !

         This is both 
and Betsy’s

18th Anniversary of Survivorship!


The following organizations have received contributions, donations and/or participated with Healing Cranes: American Heart Association, Susan Henke Miller Breast Cancer Research Fund, The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, Hospice of Leavenworth, Coachella Valley Panhellenic Society, Children's Mercy Hospital Speech and Audiology Department, St. Peter's Catholic Church, St. Teresa's Academy, Research Nursing School, KVC Behavioral HealthCare, Kansas Cancer Institute, Cancer Action Center, Catholic Charities of Manhattan, Ks, Camellot Drama Academy, Starbuck’s on Main St. on behalf of the Muscular Dystrophy Program, The Turning Point - Center for Healing & Hope, St. Luke’s Cancer Center, Sarah Cannon Cancer Center at Research Medical Center, BraCouture of KC, Research Hospital Cancer Foundation and others. See my Related Links page to contact some of these organizations.


Circa early 1980’s ?

Hogan High School Reunion

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Betsy’s favorite