A few years ago, my friend Rita was diagnosed with leukemia. She was in the middle of treatment over the winter holidays and kind of bummed out about that, and one day, while I caught the end of Miracle of 34th Street on television, I started thinking about the giant sack of letters that pour in and what it might feel like to get a big pile of mail.
So, I asked everyone I knew at the time to mail me a card for Rita, and asked all of them to ask everyone they knew and so on. When it was all said and done, I gave Rita a box with hand-drawn notes from 1st graders, with thoughtful letters, short notes, all sorts of things, just a big pile of good wishes. And it was so fun. Rita was tickled pink, and I had such a fun time getting it together.
Towards the end of Rita's treatment, and subsequent clean bill of health, another friend was diagnosed with lymphoma. Well, obviously, I thought it would be a kick to do this card thing again for her.
I did this silly letter/card thing to make some happy and give them tangible evidence of good in the world to look at when they pleased, or when they needed it there. While I keep in touch with Rita, this second friend and I sort of fell out of touch; I never really knew if she thought the cards and letters were super fun or if maybe she thought it was all lame. I figured she probably thought it was a little too goofy and let it go.
Last night, I got this email:
Ladies and gents,I apologize for the mass email but this is extremely important to me:
So, my family got some rough news a few days ago: my dad has stage 3 lung cancer. Yep, the c-word. Yet again.
That being said, he is in Dayton, OH in the hospital. He hasn't been home in a month. He is exhausted, in shock, scared and just started radiation treatments today. SInce I live here, I can't be with my dad as often as I would like, and though my brothers are taking very good care of him, he still could use all the prayers and support he can get.
When I was a ill, a friend did this for me, and it meant the world to me. She thought, "Beck is sick. I will send her a card. That should make her feel better. Hey, if one card would make her feel good, how would 100 cards make her feel?" Or at least that is how I imagine she said it. So she sent a message to all of her friends and asked them to forward it to ALL of their friends, and when I was sicker than I could imagine, I would open up another of my over 100 get well cards and feel a bit better.
I want to do this for my father. He is 71 and not tech savvy, so emails are out, but if you could find the time, I would LOVE IT if you could please mail him a card, a letter, a note, some fun little object, anything. Just something to give him a smile and know that he is not in this alone; that even though you may not know him, we are all in this life together and you are sending healing energy his way. He has been battling health problems for quite some time and I really want to try to fortify him the best way I can.
If you are interested, please send your cards and well wishes to
c/o Tony Walendzak
6270 Old Troy Pike
Huber Heights, OH
Please send my dad some get well thoughts. I will love you forever. AND, if you can, please email this message to all of your friends AND post a bulletin with this info. It would mean the world to me; almost as much as my dad does.
I ask you guys for money for this and that cause from time to time, sure. I ask you guys to go buy this book and that book, sure. But this time, all I'm asking is for you to buy one card, at least sign your name inside it, address it, stamp it and throw it in the mail. Just think of the giant pile of letters that would pour in if everyone sent just one. And think of how happy that would be.
Not "later", not when you get to it. Some of us think we have this luxury of time, and none of us do, not even a bit. Please, please put one card in the mail to this stranger to us both and enjoy a moment or two of having done a simple yet dazzling thing.
UPDATE: Bob Walendzak died a short time after this was initially posted, having received many cards.