" Sadako was born to be a runner. Her mother always said that Sadako had learned to run before she could walk.

On August 1954 Sadako ran outside into the street as soon as she was dressed. The morning sun of Japan touched brown highlights in her hair. There was not a speck of cloud in the blue sky. It was a good sign. Sadako was always on the lookout for good signs."

-Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes
By Eleanor Coerr

golden crane Eleven-year-old Sadako Sasaki lived in Hiroshima during the time of the atomic bomb. She awoke bright and cheerful on August 6, 1954.

It was Peace Day.
A day to remember those who were lost in the fatal dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan.

Running through the streets and house, calling her siblings awake, Sadako seemed as healthy as she had ever been. No one suspected that this animated young girl would be brought down by the most feared disease of the time.

Nine years earlier, in 1945, the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. Sakado, merely a baby of two years at the time, was at her house located one mile away from the explosion site. In January 1955, her legs developed purple spots.
Later that month, she was diagnosed with leukemia, caused by the radiation from the dropping of the atomic bomb.

In February, she was hospitalized.
It was estimated that she would only have a year to live.

Her mother called it the "atom bomb disease."

One day about six months after her hospitalization, Sadako's best friend - a girl by the name of Chizuko - visited her with a piece of golden paper in her hands. Chizuko cut a square out of the paper and proceeded to fold it into a paper crane. She then told Sadako about the story of the paper crane. According to an ancient Japanese legend, a person who folds a thousand origami paper cranes will be granted one wish.

That day, Sadako resolved to fold a thousand origami cranes before her time was up.

Using any kind of paper she could find, be it medicine wrapping or left-over wrapping paper from get-well presents from other patients, Sadako spent the rest of her days folding origami cranes. On occasion, Chizuko would visit, bearing gifts of paper that she got from school.

On the morning of October 25, 1955, Sadako lost her battle.

But she has also come to stand as a representative symbol of the impact nuclear war.

In 1958, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial added a statue of Sadoko holding a crane.

Every year, origami cranes are sent from all over the world as a memorial, a tribute, a sign that people still remember the devastating bombing in Japan, as well as their wish for a world without nuclear weapons.