SAANICH -- When Myla began doing origami it was simply for fun, to create something to display.

“It’s nice to look at sometimes,” the 11-year-old smiles.

But she was more interested in dressing up and taking silly pictures with her older sister Leila, her best friend. 

“What’s your favourite thing about your sister?” I ask Myla. She shakes her head silently, declining to answer and moves closer to her mom. 

“It’s very hard for her,” Kairry explains. 

Three years ago, Leila was hit by a speeding SUV while walking to school.

While she was being treated for multiple serious injuries, including a broken neck and severe brain damage, their mom re-introduced Myla to origami — to keep her focus away from fearing the worst. 

“We’re just in the room with Leila and we’re folding,” Kairry says.

They were striving to fold 1,001 paper cranes because a Japanese legend says if you do, you’ll be granted a wish and good luck.

“It doesn’t hurt to have a little bit of hope that some object brought some luck,” Kairry says.

They hung a mobile of paper cranes in all of Leila’s hospital rooms and then in their home.

Leila is now living with severe brain damage and requires round-the-clock care. 

“We’re just really grateful to everybody who was there [to help us],” Kairry says. 

That includes the Help Fill a Dream Foundation, which helped fund a wheelchair accessible van and ramp at their home.

It also inspired Myla to start folding cranes again. 

“How can we give back?” Kairry recalls Myla wondering. “How can we help?”

The 11-year-old created a Facebook page called “1,001 Cranes, 1 Wish,” hoping that friends and family might pledge a dollar for every crane she created so she could donate $1,001 to Help Fill a Dream and grant one needy family’s wish. 

Less than week later, Myla can’t fold fast enough. She’s received 12 times her initial goal — more than $12,000 in pledges, and counting. 

Luckily others have been inspired to help her fold — from classmates to strangers — dropping off cranes so Myla can eventually string together 12 mobiles to give to 12 families. 

“I want to make people happy,” she smiles, placing one of her cranes on Leila’s lap and gently stroking her hand. 

She also wants to show Leila that although they can’t be “silly sisters” like before, nothing can stop best friends from spreading joy by turning adversity into generosity.