Throughout this blog, I’ve spoken a lot about mental health and the impact that it has on physical health, particularly for myself. However, it’s important to recognise that sometimes it’s the other way around. A physical illness not only affects your body, it can also affect your mental health and your emotions. Cancer is a very clear case of this. It has a strong impact on patients and their loved ones, affecting their mental health and causing a lot of stress. And that’s why, when I saw this website called “From Me to You“, I instantly thought it was brilliant.
From Me to You is an organisation that encourages you to pen a letter to someone with cancer. The idea of writing to someone that is going through an illness that I cannot truly understand is a little scary, to be honest. There’s always the question of: “Am I going to say something wrong?” or even something as basic as “How do I start this?” However, From Me to You addresses those fears by providing a lot of writing tips, which include ideas on what to say or what to avoid saying. Their helpful tips have helped me to put together this post for you today.
World Cancer Day
On World Cancer Day, on the 4th February (this Monday!!), From Me to You is encouraging everyone to join the Big Letter Write and to pen a letter to someone with cancer. There are two main ways to get involved. You can either reach out and write to someone you already know or you can choose to donate a letter to a stranger who could use a friend.
By signing up to donate a letter, I received a writing kit from them within a few days, which contains a variety of useful information. This kit takes a few days to arrive so you won’t receive it until after Monday but if you want to join, I’ve collated my favourite tips and some things that you could do to get involved before the pack arrives. So you can join the campaign and make a difference to someone’s life this World Cancer Day.
Want to get involved in the Big Letter Write this Monday?
Here’s what you do:
- Sign up to the Donate a Letter campaign
- Grab an envelope, a pen and some paper / a postcard.
- Write a message. Even a short message to let them know you’re thinking of them works!
- Post it and send it to recipient! (If you’re sending it to “Donate a Letter” campaign, be sure to use their PO box address. If you’re sending it to someone you personally know, send it directly to them)
It’s really that simple!
I know that writing that letter can be a bit of an overwhelming experience. Starting anything is always the hardest part and starting something new and can be rather intimidating. It seems so overwhelming and daunting at first. But From Me to You have made it so much easier. They have written a lot of useful tips throughout their website and within the writing kit that they send out. What I love about the tips is that they’ve included a sample letter and some examples of how to actually open the letter.
Tips I found most helpful:
“The opening line is often the most difficult. Something like, ‘I heard that you are in hospital and wanted to let you know that people are thinking of you.’ Or ‘The part of this letter I was most worried about was how to start it, but now I have started, it’s done!’
“Try not to write about other people you know who are suffering with cancer. We need to respect that everyone’s cancer experience is personal.
“Collect stories, quotes, witty anecdotes, poems. All these things can fill your letter. Don’t over complicate it – write about everyday happenings.
“The close of your letter can be as simple as the start.”
These are all tips that have been suggested by From Me to You in their writing kit. I personally find these very useful. So on this coming Monday, write with me. Let’s write together and try and brighten up someone’s day a little! Together.
If you’re still feeling a bit uncertain, visit their website and have a flip through their posts. There is so much content on their website, it’s full of sample letters and tips that will help to get you started.
Here’s some useful writing tips:
So write with me, let’s write together…
I know it’s daunting – trust me, I know. But I really hope that this post eases your mind a little and helps you to feel a bit less anxious about the experience. Pick up a pen and put it to the paper. Start with a hello or a hi, use one of the pre-written starting lines or amend it a little to make it your own, write a little anecdote, tell a story, write whatever you want to… but just write.
Start simple. If you don’t feel like writing a lot, why not grab a postcard? A small note on a postcard would go a long way! Let someone know that they are not alone, that you’re thinking of them and that they don’t have to go through their cancer journey alone. Hold their hand through this difficult time by writing a letter.
Once you’ve written one, you’ll probably want to write more – and that’s great. From Me to You encourage long-term supporters and writers too.
If you don’t want to sign up but still want to write, you can!
Signing up is not compulsory. It is preferred but they understand that not everyone wants to. If you don’t want to sign up, you can get involved by writing a letter and just sending it off to the Donate A Letter address! Follow the instructions here.
And if you need more information about From Me to You or you have any questions, please do get in touch with them. I have only spoken to them briefly but they are so friendly! They offer a phone call to help answer any questions you have and are very responsive on social media or email. So be sure to give them a follow if you’re on social media or get in touch if you have any questions about the campaign – they are the experts, not me!
I really hope that this post has inspired you to write a letter to someone who could use a friend. Please do join me on Monday 4th February – and in the future. Let’s write together. Perfect timing if you are doing InCoWriMo too.
Disclaimer: Neither organisation asked me to write about them but I thought this was an absolutely amazing cause so I felt compelled too. The logos belong to the respective charities (From Me to You and World Cancer Day) and all photos and quoted tips were provided by From Me to You.