One year ago, I started this project not knowing what would come of it. It started as a simple goal to make 1000 cranes that were placed in different places or given to different people by today, 11/11/11. Well, today is the day and I have only made 409 cranes.
However, in the past year this project has evolved into something bigger than that. Each crane I place or give to someone takes on a different and individual path. Each with its own story. The connections I have made with friends, family, and strangers now define this project. It has inspired me to continue making the paper cranes for many more 11/11’s to come.
Here are eleven reasons and eleven cranes I would like to highlight from the past year that embody what this Eleven/Eleven project has evolved into over the past year.
1. Hope for those living strong.
No. 031 Erin McCue – New York, NY
Erin found me through a friend of mine, Toni Wasylsk. I have never met her, but she was one of the first to share her own experiences with cancer in her family.
“My mother is in remission from thyroid cancer, my grandmother is in remission from breast cancer, and my grandfather from prostate cancer. I love your message of hope and will definitely pass this along.”
2. Hope that can teach and inspire.
No. 048 David Stuckey – Washington, DC
“It has always been my ‘hope’ to live off my writings the way I wanted to without compromise. And through my writings my ‘hope’ has always been to take people to places they have never been and let them meet people they have never interacted with and teach them things through prose.”
3. Hope that is there when we need it the most.
No. 057 Helen Hartman – Reading, PA
“My mom couldn’t decide where to photograph her crane – she had it in flowers and trees and all over, and for the time it was living on a shelf in our kitchen. So after Grandpop passed, I had to walk over to my house to get something. I saw the crane and put it in my pocket, figured I could take some hope back with me. When I went to put my coat down on my grandmom’s bed, I saw the picture of them and knew that this is where the crane should live. Grandmom knew all about eleven/eleven from my mom sharing it and now she has a little extra hope with her.” – Lesley Hartman, 12/26/2010
4. Hope that creates new connections with new people.
No. 061 Butter (Brian Thomas) – Brooklyn, NY
Butter is the creator and the brains behind The Mixtape Club: an organization dedicated to the art of the mixtape, ten people, ten tracks, ten album covers. In December he asked me to be a part of one of the sessions and soon after I participated in his project, I sent him a crane to be a part of Eleven/Eleven. His mother passed away only a few months before mine and this crane lives in loving memory.
5. Hope that is humble.
No. 063 Alyson Rhodes – Pittsburgh, PA (through Allison)
Alyson found me through my friend, Allison Berger. Allison has shared my project with many people who have reached out to me for a paper crane and it is through that network that I am lucky to make such connections as this one.
“I could have lost my mother to cancer when I was an early teenager, and I’m eternally grateful it was caught in time & it never came to that…My crane is living at my desk on the 38th floor of the US Steel Tower in Pittsburgh. Here it is enjoying the lovely view.”
6. Hope that lets us share our stories.
No. 066 Mike Hromchak – Silver Spring, MD (also through Allison Berger)
Mike was my first email request, and him being so close in Silver Spring, I asked him if he would prefer we meet in person. I am thankful to have met Mike and have him share his story about his Grandmother. It just shows how much this personal project is not just about my quest for hope but sharing that with people and allowing the project to grow beyond any of my expectations.
“Your story resonates with me on a personal level; my grandmother has about 4-6 months to live, optimistically. She was diagnosed with small cell carcinoma in August and since then it’s been this…weird waiting game. I’m not sure how to feel about the whole thing (other than bummed), but I feel like what you said about hope is important to remember when you’re faced with a situation that seems utterly hopeless. I’d like to think the crane will be a little reminder to keep my chin up, even when skies aren’t clear and blue. I think the way in which you’ve chosen to honor your mother is very sweet, and I wish you all the best luck as you set out to complete this project!”
7. Hope as a reminder.
No. 068 Rich Coleman – Henderson, NV
“I just checked out this 11/11 project you’re doing for your mom and I think it’s a fantastic tribute. My mom died of cancer when I was 8 and over time I realized how important it is to have something to remind me of her, whether it’s a picture of her, her journals she left me or records of her favorite bands. I’d love to get a crane and help out in any way possible.”
8. Hope for the children.
No. 069 Molly McInnis – Harrisburg, PA
“I work as a nurse in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Hershey Medical Center. It’s not generally as depressing as it sounds – manyof the babies just decided to come out a too early and need to mature under watchful eyes. However, other cases are much more serious and despite everything we can do for them, they still don’t make it. Your project touched me so much because of the relationship between and a mother and her child…”
9. Hope that guides our sadness to happiness in the form of a smile.
No. 098 Lainey Lee – Winston Salem, NC
“I understand how hard it is to think of being hopeful in the face of a great loss in your life. My father passed away when I was 10 in an airplane crash. When I think about him I can’t help to be sad at the thought of him not being around anymore, but I know he would never want me to be sad for him but to remember him with a smile. He had always said that he wanted to come back in his next life as a bird, so every time I see one of your cranes I think of him and smile.”
10. Hope that stands the test of time.
No. 123 Donald Norwood – Lanier Heights, Washington DC
“I gave beautiful, red, crane #123 to my Dad on Valentines Day. He died of cancer on Dec 1 1988. I was 26 years old. Even after so much time I think of him just about every day. It took a while, but now instead of his illness and death, I mostly remember him as the healthy, talented and fun loving guy that I loved. I hope the same for you.”
11. Hope for our friends.
No. 278 For a good friend of a friend – Lemoyne, PA
“A good friend of mine just lost her mother to cancer two weeks ago. It was really sudden and it was also the week of her 21st birthday…I’m sending her a letter even though i have no idea where to begin… i was hoping i could put a crane in the envelope…”