My name is Lauren Vanlandingham. I am a 19 year old. I call St. Louis, Missouri my home but will be a Freshman at University of Mississippi in Oxford, Mississippi this fall. I am Girl Scout Gold Awardee, former local titleholder in the Miss America's Outstanding Teen Organization, dancer, and an active volunteer for many organizations like Friends of Kids with Cancer and Children's Miracle Network. 6 years ago I founded A Million Letters. Ever since, I've directed this organization into what it is today.
How it began
When I was 3 years old my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. She is now a survivors for 15 years and ever since then she has taught me the importance of giving to those who are in the same situation we were in.
In 2013, a boy in my mother's class passed my mother a note that read,
"My mom has breast cancer."
The following weeks, the student, his mom, my mom, and I started writing letters to each other. Their family received so much comfort in knowing someone has been where they were and survived. It was healing for my mother and I, being able to share our story to help others. After this chain of letters, between my family and others, A Million Letters began.
I started this organization with a simple goal:
To deliver one million letters of hope to individuals and their families confronted with the crisis of cancer.
Personally I have traveled to different schools, businesses, and community groups across the nation and have them write letters to cancer patients and their families. While traveling I have delivered these letters to those fighting this disease. I have seen the healing power and hope to recreate these interactions a million times.
Later I wanted to create a way for A Million Letters to surrvive the test of time so I created Stories of Hope. This book is a compilation of photos, stories, advice, and encouragement that I have collected by interviewing 10 families affected by cancer. Every survivor that I have met shares their unique experiences and new outlook on life. This inspirational book is meant to give hope to those fighting cancer. These amazing stories full of heart and love can lift up and inspire even the most crushed spirit. The proceeds from this book will be used to purchase more books to be donated to hospitals, doctor's offices, and oncologist centers across the nation.
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