JC community sends cranes and prayers to sophomore with lymphoma


The JC community made a total of 850 cranes to send to sophomore Xavia Pirozzi in accordance with a Japanese legend.

Kailey Tracy, Copy Editor

Hands crafting a blue piece of construction paper were the only objects visible upon the projection screen. An anonymous voice taught those interested the correct formation of a paper crane, as science teacher Rebecca Jansing-Kaestner’s advisory put forth their best effort in constructing the piece of origami.

On Feb. 7, advisories participated in a Japanese fable that states that folding 1,000 paper cranes pleases the gods, resulting in one wish.  JC and St. Joseph School in Fullerton partnered together to construct 1,000 paper cranes to benefit sophomore Xavia Pirozzi who is battling lymphoma.

Amy Meyerl, mother of freshman Emily Meyerl and a close family friend of the Pirozzis, is the brains behind orchestrating the legend for Pirozzi.  “The idea came about by talking with a friend who had begun to make 1,000 cranes for a friend of hers who was going through chemo for breast cancer,” Amy said.

Throughout Pirozzi’s health struggles, Amy has organized fundraisers to aid in covering the costs of medical bills.  “When she [Pirozzi] was told that she had to get a heart transplant years ago, my mom was one of the first people to step up and organize a fundraiser for her and her family, so it really isn’t a huge surprise that she is doing something again.  She loves this girl and we all just want her to get into better health,” Emily said.

Amy coordinated the construction of cranes at both St. Joseph of Fullerton and JC, where Pirozzi attended elementary and high school respectively, with the help of Emily.  “Some of the younger students at St. Joseph could not make the cranes, so we will have angels, hearts, flowers, and other origami strung together with the cranes,” Amy said.

Campus Minister Patti Murphy Dohn headed the efforts at JC.  “We here at JC are blessed to be in a family environment where everyone supports each other, so it is with great hope that we rally around Xavia and commit our prayers and our efforts toward her total healing,” Murphy Dohn said.

According to Murphy Dohn, “a few of our students and faculty members have become expert crane-makers.”  Freshman Alex English and Foreign Language Department Chair Danica Attanasio are two of these “expert” crafters.

“Personally, I felt that this was a fun and creative way for us to show her that we, the JC community, are praying for her and want her to have a healthy recovery.  I am in [Dean of Students Thomas] Vierheller’s advisory, and we had a lot of fun making the cranes and were able to make quite a few in the process.  Overall, I hope that we have a good amount of cranes made and that it helps cheer Xavia up,” English said.

“I really enjoyed making the cranes with my advisory.  About five of the students wanted to make another one.  I’ve probably made about 25 cranes myself, which is not really all that many, but considering the fact that my first two looked nothing like cranes, I’m pretty excited I was able to make so many that turned out well,” Attanasio said.

JC alone has collected over 850 cranes, all of which will be strung together with St. Joseph’s cranes.  These will be blessed by Father Kevin Schenning of St. Joseph’s Parish and delivered to Pirozzi.

Many students appeared to take part in the legend with great enthusiasm.  “I think it was probably something that puts a good feeling in her, that her school is supporting her and behind her in everything she does,” sophomore Megan Greig said.

Others had a bit of difficulty with the craft.  “I thought it was a neat idea.  I wish we would’ve been able to make more cranes, but they were kind of hard to make,” science teacher Shane Lawler said.

“Thank you to all who tried to make a crane and to all who were able to make more than one.  It was not easy, we know,” Murphy Dohn said.

Some students chose to write notes or make other origami for Pirozzi, aiming to brighten her day.

Senior Don Linardi, who has also suffered from cancer, made a square out of his paper with an x in the middle for Xavia.  “Getting messages and posters from people in the JC community really cheered me up and kept me motivated.  Treatment is a long and painful process, but with the support from others, it relieves some of the stress and becomes a little easier to handle,” Linardi said.

“The JC community really did a good job of helping us out on this project, and I really want to thank everyone for participating and doing such a great job for a great person who really deserves it.  She may be little on the outside, but she is one of the strongest people I know,” Emily said.

Kailey Tracy is a Copy Editor for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com.