In 2009, Gina L. Mulligan was forty and in the middle of a five year project that would become her book, From Across the Room, an epistolary (read: composed of letters) novel set in the late 1800s, when she was diagnosed with Stage I breast cancer. A few weeks after her diagnosis, she began receiving hand-written mail from friends and family sending their well wishes for her recovery. Moved by the emotional power of over 200 missives, when she recovered (Ms. Mulligan is now cancer-free), Gina started a charity called “Girls Love Mail.”
The business model is simple. Girls Love Mail collects all letters and cards (hand-written, of course) at its main office in Folsom, California. From there, the letters are distributed through cancer centers and doctors’ offices to women recently diagnosed with breast cancer.
Anyone, even non-survivors, can write a letter — including groups — who can download GLM’s “Party Kits,” which contain conversation starters, inspirational quotes, and sample letters to get the writing off to a great start. GLM even has Party Kits specifically tailored to women’s groups, Girl Scout Troops, classroom projects, and college gatherings.
Due to medical confidentiality laws, GLM is prohibited from gathering patient information, so you aren’t guaranteed a direct reply to your letter, but if you connect with the Girls Love Mail e-mail newsletter, you can read (and sometimes watch short films of) responses from letter recipients.
Currently, Girls Love Mail is running its Mile of Mail 2013 campaign with a goal to get 5,280 letters distributed this year. So, go treat yourself to some fierce stationary (or download the free GLM custom set) and get writing! The Girls Love Mail motto is, “Do your breast self exam once a month, and when you don’t find a lump, write a letter to someone who did!”