SUNSET -- A thousand origami cranes fluttered through Katrina Noyes' front door, bringing a wish that she will quickly recover from brain surgery she undergoes today.
The yellow, green, pink, purple, blue and red birds, created by Lincoln Elementary School students, hung from strings attached to hoops and were carried in by Noyes' co-workers -- sixth-grade teachers Jamie Hansen, Andrea Speirs and Rise Timpket.
They also brought almost $1,000 in cash collected from students, teachers and staff at the year-round school in Layton.
"I'm going to miss my kids' graduation," Noyes said, her eyes filling with tears as she talked about what will be the most difficult part of her surgery.
"You just get better," Hansen said.
The 30-year-old sixth-grade teacher will undergo surgery today at University of Utah Medical Center to remove a golf ball-size tumor found about two weeks ago in the back of her brain.
Her students and other Lincoln Elementary students wanted to let the six-year teaching veteran know their thoughts will be with her on their last day of school, so they folded colored paper into 1,000 origami cranes.
They have taken to heart an ancient Japanese legend that promises that anyone who folds a thousand origami cranes will be granted a wish, such as long life or recovery from illness or injury, Speirs said.
Third-grade teacher Amoryn Mund came up with the idea, Hansen said. Mund had a brain tumor when she was a teenager, and her friends made her 1,000 origami cranes, wishing her a speedy recovery and a long life.
Noyes' husband, Scott, works as the after-school program director at Sunset Elementary School.
"This is a laugh/cry situation, and we've chosen to laugh," Scott Noyes said about his wife's illness.
Her symptoms include having double vision.
"There's a DUI billboard on your way back from Salt Lake that says 'Do you see four cops?' or something like that," Katrina said. "We laugh."
Katrina said she started having dizzy spells when she was pregnant with her son, who will be 2 on Aug. 8, and her symptoms have baffled doctors ever since.
Doctors treated her for everything they could think of before sending her to an ear, nose and throat specialist. He ordered an MRI, and that's when they discovered the tumor that caused her dizziness, nausea, double vision and weight loss.
"After they found it, I went downhill fast," Katrina Noyes said.
A neurosurgeon in Salt Lake City told her she needed surgery as soon as possible.
Not being in the classroom has been difficult, Scott Noyes said.
"I've had to tell her not to worry," he said.
He then pointed to the three women sitting on the living room couch and said, "I told her they can do it without you."
Scott Noyes said today will be a long one as he waits with family and friends for his wife to come out of surgery.
"Sunday, I had a good sob and a prayer," Scott Noyes said. "I'm OK now."
The doctor told them the surgery averages about eight hours, but could be done as quickly as six hours or go as long as 12 hours.
They also know the tumor is a slow-growing one, but it could be one of four types. Doctors will not know what kind it is until it is removed. Side effects could be minor to serious. They also do not know if the tumor is malignant or benign.
Katrina Noyes, a Weber State University and Northridge High School graduate, said she just wants to get better so she can play with her two children and teach her students.
"They think I'm smart," she said.
SBlt To follow Katrina Noyes' progress go to katrinatumor.blogspot.com.
SBlt An account for donations has been set up at America First Credit Union. It is the Katrina Noyes Charitable Account.
SBlt A fundraiser to help offset medical costs is set for noon to 4 p.m. Aug. 14, Sunset City Building, 200 W. 1300 North, Sunset.