The kids in this Catholic school class learned plenty about history, math, and science this year – but most importantly, they learned about kindness, unity, and love.
Owen Guertin of Carondelet Catholic School in Minneapolis, Minnesota was diagnosed with an arteriovenous malformation in November: a condition in which the blood vessels in the 4th grader’s brain were tangled. If the malformation is left untreated, the vessels can rupture, causing death.
As the boy prepared for surgery at the Boston Children’s Hospital, his fellow students missed his presence in the classroom. Every day, Owen’s favorite teddy bear dressed in the Catholic school uniform would be dropped off at school to save his owner’s seat, providing comfort to the classmates.
Then, one day, the room 101 teacher Kristen Rafferty was reading an excerpt from Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr, a book about a young woman with leukemia on a mission to fold over 1,000 paper cranes. One of her students piped up in response, asking if the class could fold 1,000 paper cranes for Owen.
Rafferty was more than happy to encourage the mission, allowing the children to fold cranes during recess, lunch, and prayer time. The kids felt that even though their collection of birds may be made out of paper, they would still help Owen recover from his surgery.
“I just knew the more we made the more Owen would heal, I didn’t want to stop because I wanted him to get better,” 4th grader Adie Scheel told KARE11.
By the time Owen was in recovery from a successful 17-hour surgery, room 101 was adorned with a “crane-bow”: hundreds of tiny origami birds hanging from the ceiling in big rainbow bunches.
When the boy returned to the classroom on Valentine’s Day, he was welcomed back with an emotional greeting.
(WATCH the video below)
Click To Share This Crane-tastic Story With Your Friends – Photo by Joanie Witberler