Skip Navigation

Peace Crane Symbolizes a Turning Point for Breast Cancer Survivor

October 22, 2019

According to Japanese lore, cranes signify good health and longevity by living 1,000 years. The legend is that anyone who folds 1,000 paper cranes will be granted one wish.

This tradition is what first led architect-turned-artist Denise DiPiazzo to Turning Point in 2011.

There, she joined an effort to create 1,000 folded paper cranes. Coincidentally, Denise had just created a steel crane for a sculptural welding class in pursuit of a master of fine arts degree from the University of Kansas. She had the thought it would be nice to display "Peace Crane" in the Hope Garden at Turning Point.

Two years later, a diagnosis of stage 2 breast cancer led Denise back to Turning Point. As she struggled to sleep and cope, she remembered the services and programs available there and joined a yoga class.

“Turning Point was a godsend,” she says. “They gave me a place to go, something positive to concentrate on and the tools to live with uncertainty. They helped me balance my new world.”

After treatments at The University of Kansas Cancer Center, Denise received the good news that all was clear in February 2014. As she resumed work on her thesis, she used her experience with illness as her subject – sculpturally rendering how she ultimately turned a negative into something positive.

That’s when she decided to donate “Peace Crane” to Turning Point.

“We designed the garden to be a small, quiet retreat area,” says avid gardener Lou Eisenbrandt, chairman emerita of Turning Point. “It provides a bit of a respite.”

Denise’s donation enhances those few peaceful moments visitors enjoy. “Illness distills what’s important,” she declares. “I’m finally able to start helping people again.”

Help us do more.

By supporting The University of Kansas Cancer Center, you help us reach more people and save more lives. Give to research or patient care.

As with all treatments, individual patient results vary. It is important to discuss your treatment options with your healthcare provider.

Explore more news, events and blog