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Origami Wish: "Please end COVID-19"

A 26-year-old San Diegan makes 1,000 'Origami Cranes' as tribute to Sharp Grossmont Hospital front-line medical staff.

LA MESA, Calif — If you could make any wish, what would it be? In this Zevely Zone, I visited a special origami tribute at Sharp Grossmont Hospital. Imagine completing a five month labor of love then laying on eyes on it in public for the first time.

"Oh my gosh, this is beautiful," said Mari Pitts. The 26-year-old was moved to tears when she saw her 'Origami Cranes' dancing in the lobby of Sharp Grossmont Hospital's Intensive Care Unit. "It really looks like they are flying, ha, ha," said Mari.

Credit: Sharp Grossmont Hospital

According to Japanese legend, anyone who folds 1,000 origami cranes will be granted a wish by the gods.

"I wished for COVID-19 to be stopped that was my wish," said Mari who is a grounds keeper at the San Diego Zoo and starting last summer in her spare time, she started crafting the mystical creatures as tribute to the hospital she's been coming to since she was a kid. 

"Each one is special. Each crane is different," said Mari. "Sharp has always been special to me. My family has gone to Sharp for more than 22 years."

Credit: Sharp Grossmont Hospital

Mari also wanted to thank front-line medical workers like Andrea Milby. She is a registered nurse who told us the beautiful birds are helping the morale of her colleagues soar. 

"I know when I see it in the morning and even when I leave in the afternoon light captures all of the different papers," said Andrea. "It inspires them and it's a symbol of hope for them and they know they are going to have a good day after seeing the cranes."

Credit: Sharp Grossmont Hospital

Mari used recycled paper for the project. One crane comes from an old Star Wars calendar, another was made from a Twix candy bar. She admitted to treating herself to a little chocolate throughout the project. 

"Yep, ha, ha," said Mari who folded the first crane in August and let the last one fly in January. "I never gave up hope that one day this will all be over, and we can defeat COVID once and for all," said Mari.  

Credit: Sharp Grossmont Hospital

Her project began months before a vaccine ever existed and she is hopeful her wish is coming true. "It just blew my mind. There are definitely forces at work. God works in mysterious ways," said Mari. "I worked on these for so long it feels like coming back and seeing an old friend."

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After Mari's origami cranes leave Sharp Grossmont, they will serve as a rotating art display at other Sharp hospitals.

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