It was 1 a.m. in Plano when students Iris Lai and Vedha Vaddaraju founded their letter-writing organization, Letters of Gold.

Lai said the letters are a simple way to spread positivity. After putting their heads together, the girls were ready to launch their nonprofit within two days.

“Every two months, we find groups of people that are going through extremely tough times,” Lai said. “Our first group of people was healthcare workers since the pandemic has taken such a huge toll on them.”

Now the students are focusing on patients battling cancer. “They fight for their lives every day, but family and friends can’t see them often due to COVID-19,” she said.

The two made it easy for those looking to share positivity. A form on lettersofgold.weebly.com allows anyone to write out a personal note. But the girls said they check each letter before it goes out to ensure the language of the content. They ask writers to refrain from using phrases like “feel better.” Instead, they want those receiving letters to be able to have a laugh.

“We strive to be the light at the end of their tunnel and try to lift their spirits,” Lai said.

So far, the girls have coordinated over 200 letters that have been sent across the nation. The letters mostly find themselves in easy-to-reach clinics, but the girls are looking to expand to larger hospitals. At their first letter delivery in the Dallas area, Lai said the healthcare workers’ reactions made the hard work worth it.

“Their faces lit up when we gave the envelopes of letters to them, and that reaction pushed Vedha and I to work harder to give that light to others in need.”

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