Why One Woman Has Handwritten Nearly 3,000 Letters to Complete Strangers

Jodi Ann Bickley doesn’t know you, but she knows you are loved. And she knows that you are lovely.

In 2011, after contracting a brain infection called Mengo encephalitis and suffering a mini stroke, Bickley found herself bedridden and overcome with extreme tiredness. The then-23-year-old was eventually diagnosed with Myalgic encephalomyelitis, also known as chronic fatigue syndrome. On days when she felt too tired to function, Bickley “had a lot of time on her hands.” But instead of letting her wallowing swallow her whole, she decided to start handwriting letters to complete strangers who might need a friend.

“I needed to create something that was going to make me want to get up in the morning,” Bickley told Today.com. “I thought, if there are other people feeling like they’re in an abyss, at their lowest point, I’m going to get them out. So that’s what I did.”

Almost three years later, Bickley, now 25, is still writing letters — she’s written nearly 3,000 of them. She calls the project, “One Million Lovely Letters,” and encourages people to email her asking for a handwritten note. All someone has to do is include their address and why they would like a letter. “For example,” Bickley writes on her website, “‘I am feeling glum.’ Anything really, just why you need a little cheering up or a reminder that actually you are really lovely.

As the project grows, Bickley shares some of her notes on Instagram. She’s also turned her letters into a book and given a popular TEDx Talk (below).

“I know in our worst moments, sometimes it only takes one person to make you feel like you belong, to remind you how incredible you are,” she writes on her site. “And I hope that’s what I and my one million lovely letters can do.”

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