Community Crane Initiative Journal

Crane Header

In case you haven’t heard, The Side-Out Foundation is planning something big for October and it involves communities in Virginia and plenty of origami cranes.

To honor the 150,000 women and men living with stage 4 breast cancer in the U.S., Side-Out is reaching out to individuals in the Vienna / Oakton, VA footprint to help fold 150,000 origami cranes. Together, we know we can do something special with this project. A total of 150,000 cranes may seem like an overwhelming number, but all we need is for 1,500 people to fold 100 cranes and the project is complete!

About The Project

You may be asking yourself, “Why origami cranes?”. Origami cranes have a rich and honored tradition in Japanese culture and symbolize hope and healing. It is believed that 1,000 cranes equals a wish and our wish is for all stage 4 cancer patients to live long and fruitful lives.

Originally, we planned on having only students from 10 schools fold 15,000 cranes each to finish the project, but we have received an overwhelming amount of support from parents and school staff. Because of the support, we have opened the project up to any interested members of schools in the communities.

The cranes will be on display at the Oakton High School main gymnasium on October 28, 2017. Any volunteers who helped us throughout this historic community effort are welcome to join us!

Are you local to the Vienna / Oakton, VA footprint? If so, we would love to have you join the initiative. To join, click here.

Even if you are not local, we would love to see you fold 1,000 cranes! Get together as a team, club or even the whole school and fold your own grouping of 1,000 cranes!

Do you want to support this project, but don’t have enough time to fold cranes? You can donate to to show your support for the project.

Join the crane initiative

This page will be used going forward as an updated journal on the project so visitors can see the progress of the 2017 Community Origami Crane Project. We will be updating this page at least once a week and welcome any updates from community members who are participating with us. You can send us your updates either on our Facebook group page for the project or to [email protected].

Updates through August 25

As we began to spread the word of the 2017 Community Crane Initiative, we were looking for any help with the early phases of this project and getting materials. Organizations started reaching out asking how they could help. A big thank you to OrigamiUSA who was generous enough to donate 100 sheets of origami paper to be used towards the project.

OrigamiUSA Note and Paper

Our planning for the crane project began to come to life with paper being delivered to our office. Questions we had during the planning process were being answered like “How long would each strand be?” and “How many strands could fit on an arm of our prototype?”. Betsy Chilcoat, one of our interns here at Side-Out, took on the task of number-crunching different areas of the project and figured out how much space and structures we needed for the cranes.

Did you know we have a YouTube playlist on how to fold and string your cranes? We took videos of each of the steps in our origami crane playlist after solidifying how we wanted to string and display the cranes. These videos took some time and lots of folding, but we have received great feedback on playlist! We highly recommend watching the playlist along with the instructions if you are struggling with any of the folds.

We received a few questions about why we are asking to string the cranes in the sequences of green-pink-pink-pink or pink-pink-pink-green. The group of three pink cranes and one green crane represents the three in four women with stage 4 breast cancer who had initially been diagnosed with an earlier stage of breast cancer. The reasoning behind stringing the cranes in this order is to hopefully create a slight wave of green while the strands of cranes are hanging from our structures.

For more information on this, you can read our Volleyball Is Leading The Way blog post.

Strand Sequence

Initial Planning of The Project

At The Side-Out Foundation, we are always thinking of new ways to make an impact. We wanted to do something historic that would also involve the Vienna / Oakton, VA communities.

One day while brainstorming ideas, Rick Dunetz, Executive Director of The Side-Out Foundation, was walking through the office when he saw the picture below hanging in our office. At that moment, the idea clicked and the 2017 Community Origami Crane Project was born. From this point, the planning (and lots of folding) for the project began.


First, we needed to figure how display the cranes and how it would look in a gymnasium setting. After a few discussions, we determined that we needed to hang the cranes from some type of structure that would be on the court and how many structures were needed for the cranes that were folded in this project.

Next, it was important to figure out how to stack the cranes on a string. Initial ideas we had involved folding the wings down, but this would cause an issue with space. After some testing, we found out that if you don’t fold the wings down, the cranes would stack on top of each other flat and it would make transporting the cranes much easier.

Methods of stringing

Once we had the type of crane we wanted to fold and figured how long each strand would be, the next part of the project was to figure out the structure that the cranes would hang from in the gymnasium. We currently have a prototype, but are still trying to figure out a final design. We welcome any suggestions for what you think would be best!


Related Stories