Happy Birthday, People Hope!
Ahh…they grow up so fast, don’t they? I can’t help but smile and chuckle as we raise our collective feet to step across this mile marker together. We’ve come so far, and the life-change, the momentum, and accomplishments are breathtaking. I asked you to send in a note to share how People Hope has impacted your life, and through an outpouring of cards, notes, and letters, I’m a puddle of humbled tears as I read your words on this very special day.
Four years of simple posts on social media that find their way into your world at exactly the right moment to remind you that you’re not alone and to turn your whole day, your perspective, and your outlook around. Four years of community that relentlessly and vulnerably shares from the most raw, spectacular places in life — encouraging one another even at our lowest points, and celebrating with each other in our victories. Four years of stories shared, voices heard, and moments where the words “me too” replace former voids of being known and understood. Four years of articles and practical tools that empower us all to live to the fullest, even through our chronic illnesses. Four years of friendship, faith, highs and lows.
Four years of hope.
I can tell you this — I thought of you when I set out to start People Hope in the first place, long before I ever knew your names or saw your profile pictures or uttered a hopeful word. I thought of you — you, with the disease you hate and the hope that seems fading as you thought you were alone in your struggle. I thought of you — you, with the friends who have left you and the family that’s estranged thanks to an illness that you only wish you could escape. I thought of you — you, with the trauma, the fear, the scars, both physical and emotional, battling not only the daily realities of your body, but also the minefield of a life with ongoing sickness. I thought of you — you, with your faith hanging by a thread, or maybe already severed, longing for the God you once believed in, but wounded by misguided “church people” who told you this was somehow your fault. I thought of you, friend.
And now, as we celebrate our birthday together, I’m still thinking of you, because now I know your names, your families, your highs and lows. I’ve celebrated with you on your mountaintops, and I’ve cried with you in your valleys. I think of you because you’ve truly made People Hope something special to behold — a place that is genuine, honest, authentic, vulnerable, vibrant, rich in love and understanding and empathy and that fighting spirit that I hear echo in each of your warrior hearts.
Friends, today is ours to share and celebrate together, because today this thing that you’re a part of and this thing that we’ve grown together turns 4 years old. I can promise you that the best is yet to come on the very near horizon, and year 5 will certainly not disappoint. There’s no one else I’d rather step into this fresh, new season with than this Tribe I’ve come to know and love so dearly.
So throw some confetti and bake up the cake…this is worth celebrating! Happy, happy birthday, People Hope! You’re something fierce to behold.
All my love,
Written by: Anna Kowlessar, Founder of People Hope
After many years of dealing with her own chronic illness, Anna founded People Hope to fill a much-needed void that so many people are looking for today - a place of audacious hope, a genuine community, and somewhere to belong regardless of diagnosis. You can read more about that here. Or you can keep reading this to learn that a few of her obsessions include cuddling with her dog, Walter Norman, singing ridiculous made-up songs with her husband, Randy, and snacking on salty-sweet treats! She loves Christmas, hates the color lavender, and adores her amazing Tribe!
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