Update: Visit their website to find out about their #SummerLetterChallenge. It looks really interesting! - Richard
We all love receiving a handwritten letter through the post, the feeling you get. That rush of excitement, the anticipation of ‘what’s inside?!’ - Reading well thought out words from someone close to us, offering an opportunity of reflection and even becoming a tactile keep sake for the future. Letters provide us with such a wholesome experience.
A much loved quote by Phyllis Theroux describes the art of sending a letter perfectly “To send a letter is a good way to go somewhere without moving anything but your heart.”
A group who really understand the emotive power of letters and the positive effects receiving them can bring, is the charity From Me to You.
Set up by Alison Hitchcock and Brian Greenley, From Me to You was developed as a result of Brian being diagnosed with bowel cancer; In a bid to help him through what is an incredibly isolating and terrifying experience, Alison began writing letters to Brian, providing the support and distraction he needed. Five years later Brian has fully recovered and together with Alison their mission is to encourage and inspire people to write letters to friends, family and strangers suffering from cancer.
The idea is simple: write a letter, put it in an envelope, stick a stamp on it and send it on its way. Yet, the impact of such a simple task on the recipient is an incredibly powerful, emotive and supportive experience. There are so many reasons, ‘why it’s good to write’, as Brian and Alison explain. For the recipient the positivity that comes from receiving a letter is undeniable, from holding it in your hands and evoking the senses with its tactile nature, offering an alternative to today’s digitally driven world. Plus, the act of writing can be just as good for the writer, with research showing how the routine of letter writing can increase levels of contentedness and lower instances of depression.
In her blog, Lara Henerson recently wrote:
‘It just so happened that I wasn’t having the best day myself, the day I decided to write my own “From Me to You” letter. There had been some unpleasant events in my personal life, recently. As I walked home from the bus, brooding, I passed my favourite San Francisco bookshop, and the idea occurred to me to stop in and buy a stationery set, sit in the dog park, and write a letter or two.
Three hours of sunshine later, I’d completed six letters and did indeed feel better. The website tells you to focus on positive things, no matter how mundane, and that’s what I did. I wrote about my work, and how much I love my students, and happy memories, like when my parents first adopted their dog. The combination of nice weather and positive thinking really did the trick, and I was eager to send my letters off, and hopeful that I was making a difference in the life of whoever received them.’
We all hope that we would never be in a situation where a loved one is diagnosed with cancer but with a multitude of reasons why letter writing can be beneficial to both the writer and recipient, it is easy to see how such a simple act can offer an individual suffering an isolating illness warmth, positivity and companionship.
If you’d like more information on From Me to You follow their Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts for regular updates and posts.