Enloe Cranes Project

Lifting the Spirit and Symbolizing Hope With a Community Cancer Awareness and Prevention Project

Our Cranes Project culminated in the Cancer Awareness Fair Saturday, April 30, 2005 at the Chico Mall. The health fair featured educational booths with health experts; guest speakers; and beautiful displays of the more than 25,000 paper cranes folded by more than 9,000 people in our community. Learn how to create your own Cranes Project.


Enloe Cancer Center in January 2005 launched the Enloe Cranes Project, a community-wide effort to fold thousands of origami cranes, with the goals of increasing cancer awareness, teaching about prevention and creating a community of healing and support for cancer patients, their families, and anyone touched by cancer.

The idea for this art project came from Japanese folklore in which it is said that one's wish will be granted with the making of one thousand paper cranes. People who fold cranes are encouraged to reflect on someone they know who has had cancer affect their lives, or even to write the individual's name, along with a wish, message or prayer, so the cranes take on a richer meaning.

When completed, the birds were displayed at the Cancer Prevention & Awareness Fair on April 30, 2005 at the Chico Mall. The community folded 25,000 cranes for this project. Local artist Gregg Payne designed the display and guided the installation. In May 2005, the cranes will be moved to the Cancer Center, where they will continue to inspire patients and families undergoing treatment.

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Enloe Cranes Project Manual

Our community showed they care by making the Enloe Cranes Project such a huge success. Now the Enloe Cranes Project is a model for other communities around the country thanks to Planetree funding for a comprehensive Enloe Cranes Project manual. 

The Enloe Cranes Project Manual provides:

  • Step-by-step guide to creating a community healing arts program that teaches community members how to fold origami cranes and have conversations about cancer.
  • Details on how to implement the project -- from forming partnerships and working with schools and the media to installation of the origami cranes and holding a cancer awareness fair.
  • A full history of the project and how it addresses the core components of Planetree; helpful references and appendixes; and more.

Download our manual (Adobe PDF), The Enloe Cranes Project: Uplifting the Spirit and Symbolizing Hope, to learn everything you wanted to know about the Enloe Cranes Project (and probably more).

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Cancer Education & Support

Just about everyone knows someone who has had cancer, but many people are uncomfortable or scared to talk about it. The Enloe Cranes Project provided an opportunity to learn more about cancer, prevention, treatment options and the wealth of support resources available around Chico. Each of us can make choices that reduce our chance of developing cancer. Together we create a community of healing and support that lifts the spirit and symbolizes hope for cancer patients and their families.

Do you feel like you'll get cancer no matter what you do?

There seem to be a lot of conflicting information coming out that cites different causes for different kinds of cancer. While scientists are working hard to figure these out, we do know that the risk for cancer goes up when people do certain things, like smoke cigarettes - but sometimes there is no clear reason.

  • A person does not need to have done something "bad" to get cancer.
  • Cancer is not contagious, but some forms do have a link in family through genes/heredity. If your family has this history, speak with your doctor about risks and participate in regular screenings. Genetic counselors can be of benefit with some types of cancer.

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Early Detection is Key to Successful Treatment

The Enloe Cancer Center recommends the following screenings:

  • Mammograms yearly for women age 40 and older
  • Fecal occult blood tests yearly for people age 50 and older
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy to detect colon cancer, every five years for people 50 or older
  • Colonoscopy every 10 years for people age 50 or older
  • Pap smears yearly for women by at least age 21 (Screening intervals may change based on an individuals' risks and history of negative exams)
  • PSA blood tests and rectal examinations for men age 50 and older

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What Can You Do To Prevent Cancer?

Eat right! No single food has been linked to causing cancer, but foods that contain large amounts of antioxidants, phytoestrogens, vitamin A& C and lycopenes show promise in preventing or neutralizing small amounts of cancer cells. So eat your broccoli, fruits, tomatoes, onions and garlic, and drink green tea. In addition:

  • Try to eat at least five fruits and vegetables daily, and wash them well before eating
  • Follow a diet low in saturated fats (unsaturated fats - olive oil, avocados, nuts - are okay)
  • Don't overload on red meat
  • Avoid sugary, highly processed foods, such as pre-packaged or fast foods
  • Choose foods in their natural forms. These are raw, slightly cooked, high in fiber, or whole-grain foods, such as carrot sticks, raw almonds, cooked soybeans and apple slices

Exercise! Even 10 minutes twice daily can reduce the risk of cancer. Regular exercise improves health. It strengthens our immune system and makes us less prone to depression and stress. Do something fun with friends and exercise at the same time - play golf, go bowling, go for a walk or toss a Frisbee. It can be as simple as parking a few rows farther from the mall or avoiding the drive-thru when stopping for lunch.

Wear sunscreen! Many changes occur in cells before they become cancerous. Ultraviolet light from the sun can start these changes, so wear a hat, sunglasses and long sleeves and try to minimize exposure to the sun during the hottest parts of the day - even on cloudy days! Monthly self-checks are important, especially for people with a family history of skin cancer. Look in areas that you might not think get a lot of sun (soles of the feet, palms and buttocks), and those that get quite a bit (top of the head, ears, nose, arms and legs). For more info on skin checks, call the Cancer Access Line at (530) 332-3808.

Is it safe for people who have cancer to be around others?

At times during treatment patients are more susceptible to infection and fatigue, and at those times socializing might need to be modified. However, research from Stanford documents the importance of remaining "connected" to others when dealing with cancer. Friends, family, support groups and spiritual affiliations can all be helpful. It's important to feel "useful" even when traditional roles of wife, mother, breadwinner, husband, or father may change due to illness. Activities such as volunteering or hobbies like gardening or playing bridge can help maintain a sense of self outside of the "person with cancer."

Are you unsure of what to say to a friend who has cancer - that you'll say the wrong thing or make him or her sad or angry?

It is normal to be at a loss of words with someone who has cancer, but it is important not to avoid a friend because of that uncertainty. Most people with cancer feel some degree of social isolation during their treatments. Often they just need someone to listen. Refrain from telling stories about others you know who have had cancer. Everyone is different, and these stories may not be helpful. Respond from your heart! Here are some ideas:

  •     "I'm not sure what to say, but I want you to know I care."
  •     "I'm sorry to hear that you are going through this."
  •     "Please let me know if I can help."

Enloe's Cancer Connections and the American Cancer Society offer classes and support groups that can help families and friends who are caring for someone who has cancer. Learn about Enloe Medical Center's Cancer Connections program and support groups.

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Thank You, Wishgivers!

Enloe Medical Center sends a special thanks to the groups and individuals whose contributions made wishes come true for the Enloe Cranes Project! We also sincerely thank the many individuals who submitted origami cranes anonymously. Those listed below gave at least 200 of the paper birds. Apologies to anyone we may have missed. In total, our community folded about 25,000 origami cranes in support of cancer patients and their families. Thank you for promoting awareness, prevention and hope!

Contributed more than 2,000 cranes
Pleasant Valley High School

Contributed 1 ,000 or more cranes
Betty Smith for Faye Crowe
Bidwell Jr. High School
Chico High School
Chico Junior High School
Federated Church of Orland
Marigold School
McManus Elementary
Ophir School (in Oroville)
Rosedale Elementary School
Team 4 - CSU Chico

Contributed 500 or more cranes
American Language & Culture Institute-CSUC
Bidwell Jr. High Explorer's TeamCitrus Elementary-After School Program
CSU Leadership 200 with the Boys and Girls Club of Chico
Emma Wilson Elementary
Vicki Tsuchida for Diana Byers
Windchime of Chico & Marsh Junior High

Contributed 200 or more cranes
Beta Sigma Phi
Beth Murray
Champagne Group
CSU Department of Education
Delta Theta Phi
First Lutheran Church-Orland
Focus on the Future
Girl Scout Troop 92
Janice McCullough
Jean Ujki-Walker
Joan Maxwell
Lance Hackney
Mollie Collins
North Valley Rose Brushes
Notre Dame School
Orland High School
Parkview Elementary
Ruth Epperson
Soroptomists (Chico)
U.S. Sea Cadet Corps
Wound Care Nurses 

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  • video-img

    Drs. Voelker and Lobosky honored with 2014 Physician Legacy Award

  • video-img

    Drs. Voelker and Lobosky honored with 2014 Physician Legacy Award

  • video-img

    Drs. Voelker and Lobosky honored with 2014 Physician Legacy Award

  • video-img

    Drs. Voelker and Lobosky honored with 2014 Physician Legacy Award

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