NEW CARROLLTON, Md. (WUSA9) -- In today's hi-tech world, the cards and letters we used to send in the mail are more likely these days to drop in our email boxes, but getting a handwritten card or note means so much more, especially when you're not feeling your best. Making sure everyone who wants and needs a card like that is what the Pink Ribbon Love Letters project is all about.
Today's assignment in Ann Kinney's fourth grade language arts class at Carrollton Elementary School in New Carrollton, Md. is a little different than usual, just like the vocabulary listthat includes the words courage, survivor, resist, andhope.
They are words the students are writing when they send poems, letters and get well cards to total strangers, who are cancer patients or survivors, to help put them in a "Happy Place."
Student Tyniah Snowden reads: "Let your heart say you can, just know God is watching over you and I am too. Stay strong."
Tongwa Aka shares, "I write 'fighting the cancer. Yeah!' For excitement!"
Victorianne Russell Walton is a breast cancer advocate and survivor. She tells us, "I was misdiagnosed 4 times... I fell through every crack there was."
Falling through those cracks even cost her loss of sight in one eye, but what pulledWalton on the healing side of a brutal 4-year cancer ordeal were the love letters and spiritual notes she received from her beloved mother, Daisy Mae Russell.
"She always made me understand that this walk is not about me, but what I'm doing for my community," shares Walton.
Waltontold that story a few months ago at Carrollton Elementary's Career Day. "And one little girl gave me a card and said feel better, get better. You can do it," remembers Walton.
That's when it hit her what she could do for her community. She started the Pink Ribbon Love Letters project and called on these 9-year olds to help her send out the good vibrations and advice in the form of a corny joke.
Josue Argueta reads, "Knock, knock. Who's there? Medicine. Medicine who? Drink your medicine everyday."
Tongwa Aka points out, "The C stands for cancer and I wrote the line across to eliminate the cancer."
"Sometimes as adults we go to the left of this and the first thing we talk about is death," says Walton. "Their thoughts are so pure."
Walton adds, "They don't stop to think this person may die; they stop and think this person needs something to make them happy."
The letters go to anyone in need of encouragementand prayers -- from Maryland, to California and as far away as Sierra Leone in Africa.
Tyniah Snowden reads, "Even if you don't have a family just know that I am one. I want to help you. Do not cry, do not be down ... because I know you can do it..."
Waltoncomes by regularly to collect the letters. "This one is my first in Spanish & English. Thank you so much," she shows us.
Walton says about this children, "They are so focused on the positive, making sure that it's a happy letter, happy card, or a happy picture. They don't understand the bad side of cancer." If you'd like to help by donating supplies, then go to http://www.itsinthegenes.com/default.html
But some do -- like Timothy. For him, it's very personal.
Timothy Oshunkoya reads one of his letters: "Dear Stranger, I hope you feel better because my mom is fighting cancer, too. My mom was very sick and I'm hoping my mom feels better. I am so happy to write this letter to you stranger. I hope you feel better next time. P.S. Love, Timothy."
Walton says, "Keep writing those letters and encouraging cards and remember you're sending a smile somewhere."
Tyniah Snowden tells us, "They might think we don't understand but I do understand and I care."
If you'd like to help by donating supplies, then go to http://www.itsinthegenes.com/default.html