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When an isolated elderly woman reached out to a neighbour, it blossomed into a wider movement to tackle loneliness - as well as a beautiful friendship.
Property manager Marleen Brooks, 37, returned to her Missouri home to find a handwritten letter from a 90-year old woman.
Would you consider to become my friend.I'm 90 years old - live alone and all my friends have passed away.I am so lonesome and scared.Please - I pray for some one.
Would you consider to become my friend.
I'm 90 years old - live alone and all my friends have passed away.
I am so lonesome and scared.
Please - I pray for some one.
The note hit Brooks particularly hard, as her own grandmother - who had raised her - had died alone in a hospice.
The next day, she brought cupcakes, conversation and companionship to 90-year-old Wanda Mills.
She learnt that Mills, who relies on daily caregiver visits, hadn't left her home in seven years. Desperate for company, she had reached out to a neighbour she didn't even know.
Mills has now moved into a nursing home - but the pair's friendship is as strong as ever.
The joy their connection brought to both women's lives inspired Brooks to help more elderly people who might be lonely or isolated with a special Pen Pals for Seniors project.
In just over a month the project had almost 6000 people wanting to be matched to correspond with and older person.
On her GoFundMe page, Brooks writes:
This is bigger than I could ever dream. We can help so many (almost 6,000 members) wanting a senior pen pal.
This is bigger than I could ever dream.
We can help so many (almost 6,000 members) wanting a senior pen pal.
More: This elderly man hasn't had a holiday for 35 years - now his neighbours are planning something special for him