Encouraging people to write letters to friends with cancer

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WRITING A LETTER 'OF HOPE FOR AN UNMET FRIEND'

May 29, 2017

 

 

 

 

Being inspired to write her own letter for From Me To You wasn't enough for Melissa Fu; she wanted to do more. 

            As part of our Donate A Letter campaign, Melissa had written a letter to a cancer patient in Northampton General Hospital, telling them that she was sending them a 'letter of hope to an unmet friend'.  This wonderful phrase has gone on to be used in all of our promotion of the campaign. However, Melissa felt that there was more she could do to help and told us that she would like to introduce the Donate A Letter campaign to her writing group. 

            Equipped with quotes from people who had received letters in the past, and details of how to handle emotional situations which may be triggered for the writers, Melissa took letter writing to her class. 

            While we can imagine, and have spent a lot of time talking about, the wonderful healing properties of receiving a letter, there are also great benefits for the writer. The letters written for Donate A Letter are always upbeat, which means that the writer has had to spend some time counting their own blessings as they put pen to paper. This activity alone has been proven to enhance the writer’s outlook on life. A study of subjects who reflected on the good things in their life once a week (by writing them down) were more positive and motivated about their current situation and their future.

            Further, laziness with words creates difficulty in describing feelings, sharing experiences, and communicating with others. Exercising the word-muscle in our brains as we write letters prevents any such laziness.

            And in just the same way that friendships help keep us happy and healthy through our ties to social interaction and dialogue, writing seems like the private equivalent — it keeps you thinking regularly and stops the mental rust from forming, an important element in holding back ageing and maintaining brain-health.

 

 

            In Melissa’s class, some students wrote letters to friends and family and others their own letters of hope to unmet friends for our Donate A Letter campaign. We are hugely grateful to Melissa and her class for embracing letter-writing with such enthusiasm and generosity and hope that they experienced some of the positive effects of letter writing in the rest of their week.

 

Read here to learn more about the benefits of writing:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/12/writing-health-benefits-journal_n_4242456.html

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