Last fall, fourth-graders at Carondelet Catholic School in Minneapolis learned that a classmate was to be hospitalized. Owen Guertin had been diagnosed with an arterio-venous malformation, a tangled web of blood vessels in the brain. The same malformation had killed his cousin just a few months earlier.
While Owen prepped for surgery at Boston Childrens Hospital, his teddy bear came to school every day, dressed for school and sitting in Owen's chair. His classmates were comforted by the bear's presence, but they missed their friend.
One day, teacher Kristen Rafferty read to the class from Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes, the true story of a Japanese girl with leukemia who believes the Japanese legend - a person who folds one thousand paper cranes will be returned to health. At the end of the story, one of Owen's classmates raised her hand. She asked Ms. Rafferty if the class could fold cranes for Owen. Of course, she agreed.
The class used time during recess, lunch, morning prep, and even their own time at home to fold cranes out of paper in multiple colors and prints. It was all worthwhile when Owen returned to school after a successful 17-hour surgery to find his friends had decorated their classroom with a 'cranebow.'