November 11th, 2010 — 11:11am


From 11/11/10 to 11/11/11 * I will be making 1000 cranes in loving memory of my mother. She passed away from cancer exactly one year ago on 11/11/09.

I was 22 years old and away at college across the country when I found out my mom had terminal cancer. I had only two months left until graduation and my strict mom gave me no choice but to stay and finish school. I would be the first in our family to get that piece of paper and it was kind of important.

Little did I know, I would only have six months with my mom after being away for four years. Which to me is way more important than some piece of paper. However, my mom gave me the greatest gift in that short time I had with her. I wasn’t close to my mom growing up but that quickly changed. And all of these experiences that changed my life can’t be fully explained in a few paragraphs but what it ultimately came down to was hope. She never let anyone tell her she was dying, even the doctors who gave her only 8 months. Her fearless strength carries on in her memory and her hope manifests through the many people who were lucky to know her.

Inspired by the ancient Japanese legend and the Sadako story of 1000 cranes, my younger sister (who was very close with our mom) folded 1000 paper cranes with her when they first found out about the cancer to wish for good health. We had been folding paper cranes since we were little but now they meant more to us than ever before. More than just a wish, the cranes bonded us in an experience that I would never wish upon anyone else.

The paper crane and this idea of hope is something I wanted to always hold onto in respect for my mother. So one month after she passed away, I got a tattoo of a paper crane along with the date 11/11. In the spontaneity of getting  my 4th tattoo, I didn’t think about the consequences as people inevitably ask, “What does that mean?”

I found myself quickly learning how to respond without bursting into tears. Mom’s never want to see their kids cry, especially tears for them. My mom especially would demand everyone not cry, even if she started to cry while saying it. We all know not crying when it comes to cancer is pretty challenging. So, I created this project on the anniversary as my coping mechanism and strategy to not cry on this day. And I am happy to say that each crane I create replaces those tears and is just one way to honor my mom’s memory and have her story live on.

409 out of 1000 cranes were completed. The project will continue on until 1000 cranes are reached. So keep on requesting paper cranes & sharing your stories of hope. Click to see more from 11/11/11>>

Today I sent 11 cranes to fly. Click to see the video and pictures>>


18 Responses to “THIS IS ELEVEN/ELEVEN”

  1. Lauren Golem

    I have a request for hope:

    Have a little help from your friends

    What if your friends made the cranes in the locations that they are in and the different locations they travel to? And then we can send you the photos?

    Just a thought, unless you want to make all 1000 yourself – if there significance to that.

  2. Dad

    I Love You Baby! Send me one!

  3. Kaleena

    Thank You Lauren. Yes, the idea is to personally make the 1000 cranes.

    The project is more in the process and in the gift of the paper cranes. One of the lessons in the Sadako story, is that it is not necessarily the time or even the feat of reaching 1000, but the sentiment and bond it creates.

    At the same time, I hope this does encourage others to make their own cranes when they find themselves needing a little hope.

  4. Chris

    Beautiful, Leens.

  5. Allison Berger

    This is a request for hope.

    519 S. 21st St, #1, Philadelphia PA 19146

  6. maddie

    Beautiful project Kaleena!

    You taught me how to make paper cranes while we were having dinner at PUBLIC, so I think I will make some anyway, because hope & Porter women are definitely something I can get behind!

    Look how much you’ve accomplished in the past year, I’m sure your mama would be so proud of you moving forward!

  7. maddie

    Also, I’m requesting a crane for hope that we will all find inner peace.

    Send me one, duh!

  8. Joseph Delaney

    Hope has and will always continue to be.

    That picture of your mother is quite beautiful.

    Add me to your list, please.

    28 Belknap St Unit 3 Somerville, Ma 02144

  9. Brenda Desper

    I will remember your mom for the person she was..she was really a good mom to you and sarah ..she will be greatly missed..

  10. kate macdonnell

    this is a beautiful tribute, kaleena.

  11. ak

    i love you.

    send me some hope please.


    KALEENA this is a beautiful thing you are doing and it brought tears to my eyes i miss your mom and and i think of her every now and then and i would like a crane to have in her memory grandpa and i are very proud of you and we remember her in our hearts and too love grandma and grandpa you may send us some hope in our old age thank you

  13. Jen Arthur


    This project is amazing. I remember making paper cranes together as kids, and those tiny paper stars too. If it’s possible i’d like to help you. It’s strange because we haven’t talked in years. It feels like forever ago, and i never knew how to reconnect or anything.. i think this way is better than any way.

  14. Sharon


    I can’t even describe how beautiful this is. I want to learn how to make a paper crane as well, if you are willing to teach me one day.
    I think about your mom at least once a day every day….she is so beautiful and will always leave happy memories in my heart! Please send me a crane so I can have another beautiful memory to look upon each day!
    I love and miss you. Please let me know if you need anything. :)

  15. Jacob Suazo

    I hope for hope.


  16. Andrew Castillo


    this is truly inspirational, elegant, true & beyond hopeful. this wonderful tribute to your mother is a clear vision of the hope that she has instilled in you and that you have continued by sharing w/all of us a way to teach others about hope and the true spirit of love.


  17. Julie Porter

    Kaleena, What a beautiful project! I never had the chance to spend much time with your mother but I can tell by how you girls are turning out that she must have been a special person indeed. I’m sending a request to participate. love to you, Julie

  18. Susan Hasten

    This is such a beautiful and hopeful project, Kaleena. I am certain your mom is so proud of you.

    I want to send hope for all of the people of the Philippines just now, as they struggle just to survive.

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