St Clair Public School students fold paper cranes to get a wish for Koleby Thompson

Wishing cranes: Koleby Thompson's classmates at St Clair Public School are making 1000 cranes to wish for a healthy return to school. Picture: Isabella Lettini
Wishing cranes: Koleby Thompson's classmates at St Clair Public School are making 1000 cranes to wish for a healthy return to school. Picture: Isabella Lettini

ONE thousand paper cranes crafted with love will fill the playground and halls of St Clair Public School. 

The symbolic ornaments were inspired by the story of Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes, with the ultimate goal of a wish for recovery. 

Like Sadako, one of St Clair’s own, year 6 pupil Koleby Thompson, was diagnosed with leukemia in January.

Koleby lives with down syndrome and attends classes in the school’s support unit. 

When the cancer was first detected, because flowers weren’t allowed on the ward, the support unit made a cardboard garden for Koleby to take with her.

Setbacks have meant Koleby hasn’t been able to spend time at school this year but the teachers and students have made sure Koleby and her family know they are in their hearts.

Koleby’s mum Karen said the support from the school “means the world”.

“The whole school has just stepped up, and it’s mind-blowing and humbling,” she said. 

“I shed a tear every time I think about what they’ve done. Just to know that my little girl has touched so many people in the school community is very humbling.

“The fact they’ve tied it in with leukemia, which is what Koleby has got, and they realised the cranes represented the wish that they’re trying to give Koleby. Words can’t explain how we feel to know that the school is behind her.”

Relieving assistant principal in the support unit, Sue Burnett said it has been wonderful to see the support the school has given Koleby and her family.

“When we heard the news at the beginning of the year, it was a big shock for everyone because Koleby was well known and well loved in the support unit by all the staff and students,” she said.

“She’s always such a happy personality and just to hear she was so unwell with such a serious illness was quite a surprise.

“But it’s been lovely to see how the school has got behind Koleby and her family and supported her on this journey she’s on.”

Mrs Thompson said there is still a long way to go in Koleby’s journey, as she needs a bone marrow transplant.