Devastated father makes incredible discovery while cleaning his deceased daughter's room.

On May 28, 2014, 13-year-old Athena Orchard of Leicester, England, died of bone cancer. The disease began as a tumor in her head and eventually spread to her spine and left shoulder. After her passing, Athena’s parents and six siblings were completely devastated.

In the days following her death, her father, Dean, had the difficult task of going through her belongings. But the spirits of the entire Orchard family got a huge boost when he uncovered a secret message written by Athena on the backside of a full-length mirror.

After removing the mirror from the wall, Dean discovered a 3,000-word letter written all the way down its backside in black pen. “She never mentioned it, but it’s the kind of thing she’d do,” her father told People magazine.


“She was a very spiritual person, she’d go on about stuff that I could never understand – she was so clever,” Dean said. The moving letter revealed her deepest feelings about her fight with the dreaded disease.

“Every day is special, so make the most of it, you could get a life-ending illness tomorrow so make the most of every day,” she wrote. “Life is only bad if you make it bad.”

Although Athena is gone, the mirror now serves as a powerful memory of her undying spirit. “We’re keeping the mirror forever, it is a part of her we can keep in the house, it will always be in her room,” her mother, Caroline, said. “Just reading her words felt like she was still here with us, she had such an incredible spirit.”

Athena’s full message:

“Happiness depends upon ourselves. Maybe it’s not about the happy ending, maybe it’s about the story. The purpose of life is a life of purpose. The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra. Happiness is a direction not a destination. Thank you for existing. Be happy, be free, believe, forever young. You know my name, not my story.

You have heard what I’ve done, but not what I’ve been through. Love is like glass, looks so lovely but it’s easy to shatter.

Love is rare, life is strange, nothing lasts and people change. Every day is special, so make the most of it, you could get a life ending illness tomorrow so make the most of every day.

Life is only bad if you make it bad. If someone loves you, then they wouldn’t let you slip away no matter how hard the situation is. Remember that life is full of ups and downs.

Never give up on something you can’t go a day without thinking about. I want to be that girl who makes the bad days better and the one that makes you say my life has changed since I met her!

Love is not about how much you say I love you – it’s about how much you can prove it’s true. Love is like the wind, you can feel it but you can’t see it. I’m waiting to fall in love with someone I can open my heart to.

Love is not about who you can see spending your future with, it’s about who you can’t see spending your life without… Life is a game for everyone but love is the prize. Only I can judge me.

Sometimes love hurts. Now I’m fighting myself. Baby I can feel your pain. Dreams are my reality. It hurts but it’s okay, I’m used to it. Don’t be quick to judge me, you only see what I choose to show you… you don’t know the truth. I just want to have fun and be happy without being judged.

This is my life, not yours, don’t worry about what I do. People gonna hate you, rate you, break you, but how strong you stand, that’s what makes you… you!

There’s no need to cry because I know you’ll be by my side.”
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.