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8 nontraditional empathy cards that are unlike any you've ever seen. They're perfect!

Because sincerity and real talk are important during times of medical crisis.

8 nontraditional empathy cards that are unlike any you've ever seen. They're perfect!

Emily McDowell Studio


When someone you know gets seriously ill, it's not always easy to come up with the right words to say or to find the right card to give.

Emily McDowell — a former ad agency creative director and the woman behind the Los Angeles-based greeting card and textile company Emily McDowell Studio — knew all too well what it was like to be on the receiving end of uncomfortable sentiments.

At the age of 24, she was diagnosed with Stage 3 Hodgkin's lymphoma. She went into remission after nine months of chemo and has remained cancer-free since, but she received her fair share of misplaced, but well-meaning, wishes before that.

On her webpage introducing the awesome cards you're about to see, she shared,

"The most difficult part of my illness wasn't losing my hair, or being erroneously called 'sir' by Starbucks baristas, or sickness from chemo. It was the loneliness and isolation I felt when many of my close friends and family members disappeared because they didn't know what to say or said the absolute wrong thing without realizing it."

Her experience inspired Empathy Cards — not quite "get well soon" and not quite "sympathy," they were created so "the recipients of these cards [can] feel seen, understood, and loved."

Scroll down to read these sincere, from-the-heart, and incredibly realistic sentiments.

Emily McDowell Studio

Emily McDowell Studio

Emily McDowell Studio


Emily McDowell Studio

Emily McDowell Studio

Emily McDowell Studio

Emily McDowell Studio

Pretty great, right? If you know someone who's in the less-than-ideal position of dealing with a serious illness, you can purchase any of these eight cards to share with them.

Visit Emily McDowell Studio's shop to select the card(s) you need. They're $4.50 each.

(We're not being paid to share these, nor were we asked to do so. We came across the cards and I loved them, so I reached out to Emily McDowell Studio and asked if I could share them with you. Unfortunately, a lot of us know someone who could use a card like one of these.)

True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.