I first discovered “Girls Love Mail” through the “Flying High on Broken Wings” music project in October 2011. Through an email chat, Founder, Gina Mulligan and I shared a kindred spirit for written words, hopeful messages and compassionate outreach.
Gina had an ambitious goal in 2011: 40 letter writers to dedicate 10 minutes a week in 100 cities, to amass enough letters for every newly diagnosed breast cancer patient.
Now in 2013, her goal is to collect 5,280 handwritten letters. They’re arriving steadily, from 900 cities … so far. In sharing the healing power of words, “Girls Love Mail” is inspiring dedicated writers and generous partners around the nation.
Our guest blogger today is Gina Mulligan, Founder of “Girls Love Mail” and award-winning author. She’s written articles for national magazines such as Home and Garden, AAA and PC Computing. In August 2011, Gina founded the charitable organization, Girls Love Mail. Putting aside the writing of her novel, she presented us with this healing gift of words.
The Gift of a Handwritten Letter
Lord Byron said, “Letter writing is the only device for combining solitude with good company.” I love this quote because it’s so true. But back in Lord Byron’s day, writing a letter was part of everyday life. In our modern age of text messages and emails, I think we’ve forgotten the healing power of a handwritten letter.
Letters are little gifts that we store in cloth boxes to re-read when we’re low or want to remember. Think of the excitement and anticipation of a sealed envelope with your name on it.
The restorative quality of letters is one of the reasons I started Girls Love Mail, a charity that collects handwritten letters of encouragement and gives them to women going through breast cancer treatment. I was also uplifted by the cards I received while going through breast cancer treatment and wanted to continue the circle of caring. And I’m not the only one touched by a few kind words.
“As I was sitting getting hydrated in the infusion center after only my second of 8 cycles of chemotherapy treatments, one of the nurses handed me a [Girls Love Mail] letter from a complete stranger that touched my heart. I am surrounded and humbled by the support and generosity of strangers and friends alike,” said Meg G.
If you’re thinking that writing a note of encouragement sounds like a nice way to spend ten minutes of your day, you’re not alone. Girls Love Mail has collected over 7,000 letters since starting in August 2011.
Many of our letters come from groups like women’s clubs, sororities, girl scouts, and even a couple of fraternities. Yes, men write letters too. Every letter is read; which often leads our Girls Love Mail team to well up with tears. Every letter is so heartfelt and personal.
One letter might be from a teen struggling with an eating disorder and the next a note of wisdom and strength from a 30-year breast cancer survivor. Once the letters are read and the tissues are put away, each one is placed in a special envelope that explains the program.
Judy W. said, “Writing a letter to my friend with breast cancer helped me feel empowered. I felt like I was doing something to help.”
Snail mail may not be part of everyday life anymore, but maybe we shouldn’t forget our roots so quickly. Many describe letter writing as a cathartic, even spiritual experience for both the recipient and letter writer. So if you have just a few minutes and want to feel connected in our busy technological world, why not pick up a good pen, find a lovely piece of paper and a stamp, and write a letter.
As Lord Byron said, “you’ll be in good company.”
Keeping with tradition here at Hope Matters, we’ll close with a few whimsical facts about our guest, Gina Mulligan: She loves whodunit mystery puzzles, baking, and having doggy play dates for her Labrador Retriever and the neighborhood dogs.
Reach Gina and Girls Love Mail at www.GirlsLoveMail.com