The holidays have a way of bringing out the best that humanity has to offer, and the PostSecret project is an illustration of just that.
Created by Frank Warren, the project is a collection of anonymous secrets shared creatively on postcards.
Throughout much of the year, the postcards received are heartbreaking and tragic, reflecting all the ways in which our society can be cruel and unforgiving.
But the holiday secrets, says Warren, showcase what’s good in us all.
“Holiday secrets remind me that the generosity we share is boundless,” he told The Huffington Post. “They are secrets we can all relate to and they often bring a smile to our faces.”
Last Christmas season, for example, a California mother named Susie wrote in about not being able to give her 4-year-old daughter the ballerina jewelry box that she had wanted. As luck would have it, she sent the postcard to the wrong address, and the card ended up in the hands of a woman named Hayley in Pennsylvania.
After reading her secret, Hayley sent in the postcard below to the project, in the hope that Susie would see it.
Susie and Hayley managed to get in touch with each other through comments on the post, and Hayley ended up sending a ballerina jewelry box just in time for Christmas morning.
“It’s all because of you, Frank,” Susie wrote in a letter to Warren. “You and your wonderful work that you do bringing strangers together.” She went on to say, “Please, always remember what was good about the (PostSecret) app and not just the bad.”
This isn’t the first time a virtual postcard has resulted in real-life kindness. In December 2009, Warren received the postcard below from a mother who had just lost her job and wasn’t able to afford Christmas gifts for her son.
Soon after the postcard went up, the sender began receiving gifts from PostSecret readers. A special donation website was also set up so that people could contribute independently. Ultimately, she was so overwhelmed with the generosity and abundance of donations received, that she sent out a message asking people to donate to the Salvation Army instead.
We’re celebrating the joy of Christmas season with some of our favorite holiday secrets.
Also on HuffPost:
Bev Holzrichter, “The Internet is my hero, it saved my life”
CNN reported the story of Bev Holzrichter, 56, who runs a horse stable in Charlotte, Iowa with a live stream installed for foaling season.
In 2004 one mare, Sierra was having trouble giving birth. Holzrichter went to check on her without realizing that another mare, Nifty, had broken down her door and was in Sierra’s stall trying to steal her foal.
Trying to defend her newborn, <a href=”http://articles.cnn.com/2005-09-21/tech/bev.holzrichter_1_web-cam-stables-horses?_s=PM:TECH”>Sierra kicked Holzrichter three times in the chest. </a>
Users on the live stream watched the entire incident, and came to the rescue.
Residents of Germany, the United Kingdom, France and all over the world called the Charlotte Rescue Squad. When they arrived 45 minutes later, Holzrichter was already in shock with a dangerously low temperature.
“<a href=”http://articles.cnn.com/2005-09-21/tech/bev.holzrichter_1_web-cam-stables-horses?_s=PM:TECH”>The Internet is my hero</a>.” Holzrichter said of her ordeal. “Those people watching are the ones who helped me. If it wasn’t for the technology of the web cam, I’m not sure when I would have been found or what would have happened to me.”
Holzrichter suffered a damaged knee and leg.
Bear Silber: “How Reddit Saved My Life”
In a <a href=”http://www.mpviral.com/2012/07/17/reddit-saved-mans-life/”>viral Youtube video</a> chronicling his ordeal, Silber begins, “Six months ago, I almost died.”
Silber, was suddenly struck with a disease that disfigured his body and caused him to retreat indoors, not wanting to be seen.
Doctors were unable to diagnose Silber after numerous tests.
One day, he was browsing Reddit, when he saw a posted photo that resembled his symptoms. One commenter added that the man might have Cushings Syndrome.
Upon further research Silber realized he had all the same symptoms of the disease. His doctor, however, was not convinced.
Not until Silber went to an endocrinologist did she confirm that he had Cushing’s disease.
Silber was able to remove the tumor and is on the road to recovery.
Marc C. Santos and Rowan Santos
In 2008, Santos’ wife frantically showed him a link about retinobastoma, a symptom of which is white eye reflex.
<a href=”http://www.technorhetoric.net/15.2/topoi/santos/our_story3.html”>Their young daughter Rowan’s</a> left eye had been changing color for the past week and her eyes often reflected white in photos. Megan Santos posted a question concerning the changing eye to babfit.com
Another mom, Madeline Robb from Manchester England noticed the picture and recalled a similar instance with her friend’s child. White eye reflex can in rare cases be a sign for retinoblastoma, an extremely agressive form of eye cancer.
Santos rushed Rowan to the hospital where she was diagnosed with cancer. She lost sight in her left eye, however, if the cancer had gone untreated for another two months, she surely would have died.
<a href=”http://www.nbcmiami.com/news/local/Earthquake-Survivor-Says-iPhone-a-Life-Saver–82081602.html”>Dan Wolley</a> found himself in the midst of a collapsing city when a massive earthquake hit Haiti in 2011.
Wolley was able to use the light from his iPhone to unveil his injuries and diagnose them with an app. He followed the app’s instruction to stop the bleeding on his legs and head, and then looked up ways to prevent himself from going into shock.
He also used his camera to take pictures of the surrounding rubble and find a way out of the debris. He took refuge in an elevator shaft until rescue workers found him 65 hours after the earthquake.
Tourist Lost On Ice Spotted On Webcam
A 40-year-old German tourist walked onto a shelf of packed ice off a beach on the North Sea coast of Germany in January hoping to photograph a sunset.
After it became dark, however, the man couldn’t find his way back to the beach and was faced with freezing temperatures.
<a href=”http://www.lencurrie.com/2010/03/how-the-internet-has-saved-lives/”>He began flashing an SOS signal using his camera’s flash</a>.
The SOS was spotted by a woman watching a webcam of the beach. She phoned police, who drove to the beach and flashed their headlights to guide the man to safety.
The man, who declined to give his name, and his webcam watcher were never identified.
Amita Gupta was diagnosed with leukemia in 2011.
Gupta wrote a blog post about needing a bone marrow transplant donor, <a href=”http://amitguptaneedsyou.com/”>and even created a website</a>.
Concerned people all over the country launched a campaign to find Gupta a donor.
After 100 drives, 7,000 reblogs, tweets, Facebook posts, press, and fundraising, Gupta finally found a donor.
He still has a long way to go, but he’s on his way to recovery.
Deborah Copaken Kogan
<a href=”http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2011/07/how_facebook_saved_my_sons_life.2.html”>When Kogan’s 4-year-old came down sick on Mother’s Day</a> she dutifully took him to the pediatrician, who treated him for strep.
The next morning however, Leo was worse. The family doctor tentatively diagnosed him with scarlet fever, due to the rashes that had appeared on his body.
Kogan continued to post pictures of her son on Facebook, where concerned commenters worried over his condition.
The next day, Leo was swollen beyond recognition.
Kogan snapped a bunch of pictures to send to her family doctor and post on Facebook as well.
Within 10 minutes, a former neighbor called Kogan urging her to go to the hospital as soon as possible. Her son had suffered the same symptoms and was diagnosed with Kawasaki disease – a rare autoimmune disorder that attacks the coronary arteries surrounding the heart.
Private messages from pediatricians and cardiologists urged Kogan not to ignore the symptoms, damage can begin only five days after the onset of symptoms.
Leo was diagnosed with Kawasaki disease and then Kawasaki-triggered liver disease. Two months later, Leo is recovering and doing well.
<a href=”http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/story/2012-01-01/facebook-kidney/52319734/1″>Damon Brown found a kidney on Facebook</a> after pleading for his life on a special page he created.
On January 3 he received a kidney from Jacqueline Ryall, an acquaintance of his wife’s who answered his Facebook plea.
“She said it wasn’t really for me. It was for my kids, because they deserve to have a dad around,” said Brown, 38, told <em>USA Today. </em>
<a href=”http://www.lencurrie.com/2010/03/how-the-internet-has-saved-lives/”>Atlanta City Councillor Kwanza Hall</a> saw a woman collapse on a street corner in Atlanta last May.
His cellphone was dying, however, and he didn’t think it would make it through a call to 911, <a href=”http://www.lencurrie.com/2010/03/how-the-internet-has-saved-lives/”>Hall quickly tweeted</a>: “Need a paramedic on corner of John Wesley Dobbs and Jackson St. Woman on the ground unconscious. Pls ReTweet.”
His followers sprang into action, called 911, and paramedics arrived a short time later to transport the woman to hospital.
Doug Henning: “The Internet Literally Saved My Life”
A fractured ankle and surgery to repair it caused <a href=”http://doughennig.blogspot.com/2012/03/internet-and-my-wife-literally-saved-my.html”>Doug Henning</a> to be off his feet for a couple weeks.
One Sunday night, however, he woke from an excruciating pain in his left ribs and a fever.
Googling “fever after surgery” on his iPad Henning learned about a pulmonary embolism in which circulation in an immobilized leg can result in a clot. If the clot breaks off it can travel into the lungs and cause chest pain and fever.
Henning was going to ignore the signs until he read that pulmonary elbolism when left untreated is fatal.
Henning went to the ER the next day where doctors discovered a clot. Thankfully a regime of blood-thinners will cause the clot to disappear over time.
The moral of the story according to Henning, “<a href=”http://doughennig.blogspot.com/2012/03/internet-and-my-wife-literally-saved-my.html”>Google is definitely your friend.</a>”