Myla Bui can fold a paper crane in under two minutes.
The Saanich teen took up origami as she sat at her sister’s bedside after Leila Bui was hospitalized with severe, life-altering injures – a result of being hit by a driver while crossing the street outside her home in 2017. In the sterility of that hospital room hung a mobile dripping in colourful paper cranes, courtesy of a family friend.
It offered a spot of brightness and Myla first learned about the Japanese legend that promises a wish for the person who folds 1,000 origami cranes.
Enamoured, she started folding for fun.
A couple years ago, her mom Kairry Nguyen suggested the now 13-year-old take a philanthropy course, Myla recalled.
One step in the Coast Capital Savings Foundation of Youth Giving Hearts Workshop entails creating a fundraiser – Myla’s brother suggested the origami.
While the workshop asked youth to develop a fundraiser as part of the coursework, implementing was Myla’s idea.
In 2020, Myla started a campaign called 1,001 Cranes 1 Wish – adding a crane for luck.
She folds cranes while fundraising. When she has 1,001 cranes, Myla makes a mobile and the Help Fill a Dream recipient receives both the funds and the wish in form of a mobile.
She selected Help Fill A Dream Foundation as the benefactor. It’s the organization that once helped the family build a ramp and get an accessible vehicle so Leila – who relies on a wheelchair at all times – to come home.
In the near three years since, she’s created a dozen mobiles – at minimum 12,012 cranes – for young people facing health issues.
The Help Fill a Dream Foundation supports families from Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands whose lives are suddenly disrupted by a child’s diagnosis or severe health challenge.
She’s honed the craft since then, embarking on an initiative with Help Fill a Dream Foundation in 2021 to help raise hopes and funds.
Now in Grade 8 at Arbutus Global School, she’s folded – with a little help at times – at minimum 12,012 cranes, to create 12 mobiles for the Help Fill a Dream. She presented her latest mobile late last month, this one funded fully by an anonymous donor, to a girl whose wish (granted) is to visit Japan.
Myla took the wish into account, building a mobile with the Japanese character for dream in it.
Aside from the philanthropy, origami remains family bonding time.
Myla and her mom often craft cranes while watching television with Leila.