Love Letters

Love Letters

From A 5th Portion of Chicken Soup for the Soul

Love Letters

When eight-year-old Andy Bremner needed hospital care to treat his cancer, get-well greetings poured in from school chums, cousins and neighbors. He Scotch-taped them on his walls and pasted them in scrapbooks. He read them over and over again. But when Andy left the Chicago hospital, the mail stopped.

Day after day his mother, Linda, watched her little boy search the mailbox for mail he could open, even fliers addressed to “occupant.” It broke her heart.

Suddenly she realized there were many things in Andy’s life she couldn’t control—radiation treatments, chemotherapy, his getting better. But there was one thing she could control: the mail. From that moment on she started writing to him, carefully signing the letters, “Your secret pal.”

Andy was thrilled to get these mysterious letters of support. One afternoon as he sat at the dining-room table where he loved to draw pictures for his mom, he noticed her watching him and waiting. “No, Mom,” he said softly. “This is different. This one isn’t for you.” He rolled the paper into a scroll and laid it on the table top. “It’s for my secret pal.”

That night after she had tucked him in bed, Linda unrolled her little boy’s picture. In a corner, Andy had left a message: “P.S.: Mom. I love you.”

The correspondence between Andy and his secret pal continued until he passed away (in 1984). Andy and his mom never spoke about their game.

While sorting through her son’s closet after his death, Linda Bremner found an address book with the names of friends Andy had met at a summer camp for kids with cancer. That’s when the idea hit her. She sent a note to each child, and it wasn’t long before she began receiving responses. “Thank you,” wrote one youngster. “I didn’t know anyone knew I was still alive.”

Over the next ten years Linda continued writing to kids with cancer and other illnesses. At the same time she established a volunteer organization called Love Letters, Inc. based in Lombard, Illinois. On a modest budget dependent on donations, the group mails over 7,000 cards and packages to children every month, as well as 1,100 Christmas toys and goodies. Numbers increase each year.

“We must keep mailing,” Linda urges. “These children need to know they are not forgotten, and we must send them all the love and encouragement we can.” Then, with eyes misting, she adds, “I’ll never leave one standing at the mailbox.”

Kevin Lumsdon

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