Maybe it was Myspace. Maybe it was Switchfoot or Anberlin or Paramore. Maybe it happened at Cornerstone or Bamboozle or Warped Tour, where we’ve spent every summer since 2007. For some, it was Soundwave in Australia. For others, with The Rocket Summer in the U.K. Perhaps it was a Facebook post, a video on YouTube, or a t-shirt on a stranger walking by. A Google search. A photograph on Instagram. Or, a speaker at your school.
TWLOHA turns 12 today. That’s 12 years of stories still going, 12 years of hope and help, 12 years of breaking silence and challenging stigma. Whether you found us back in 2006 or yesterday or somewhere in between, we want to take this moment to say thank you. Whatever it was that allowed our paths to cross, we’re grateful for it. And more importantly, we’re grateful for you. We’re grateful for your curiosity, your loyalty, your passion, your voice. Your support is what got us here. Your support is what allows us to celebrate 12 years today, and what allows us to keep going. And so today, we want to thank you for coming with us on this surprising journey.
From NBC Nightly News to the American Giving Awards to the film that shares our name. From Fears Vs. Dreams to Welcome to Midnight to World Suicide Prevention Day. From HEAVY AND LIGHT to the Run For It 5K. There are so many moments and ideas and campaigns that we are so incredibly proud of. You have made it all possible.
Since today is our birthday, it seems a good time to reflect on why we love birthdays. First off, they give us the chance to tell someone we’re glad that they were born, and with that, to say we’re glad that they’re alive. It’s the perfect time to celebrate someone’s story so far, all they’ve overcome, and to cheer as they continue. We get to remind someone that they’re not alone in this life, and we get to tell them that they matter.
And something incredible has been happening a lot lately. In the last year, more than 1,600 people have used Facebook to donate their birthdays to TWLOHA. It’s a day where people are expected to receive, but these folks choose to give. Something we hear again and again is people saying that TWLOHA helped them keep going. TWLOHA helped them make it to a birthday they weren’t sure they’d live to see. And now they want to give other people that same gift by using their birthday to invest in TWLOHA. They’re giving so that others can find hope, and find us at the next event. They’re giving to help pay for someone else’s counseling. They’re giving to lighten someone else’s struggle.
We will never get tired of reading those messages and hearing those stories. It’s the heart of the matter and it’s the stuff that keeps us going. If you have a birthday coming up and you would like to use it to support the mission of TWLOHA, we would certainly love that. You can learn more here.
As we celebrate the last 12 years and as we look ahead to the future, today we pause to thank you. Thank you for believing in this work that we continue to do. Thank you for believing that hope matters and that connecting people to professional help matters. Thank you for trusting us with your questions and your stories, and thank you for believing in the idea that people need other people. Thank you for living it out.
If you want to support TWLOHA as we continue to bring a message of hope and help to people worldwide, there are a few ways you can get involved right now:
1) Donate your birthday to TWLOHA on Facebook. Find out more here.
2) Help us celebrate our birthday! We’re asking you to wear your favorite piece of TWLOHA merch and share why you #wearTWLOHA.
3) Move for something that matters. On April 14, we’re hosting our Run For It 5k. You can become a virtual runner or join us in Satellite Beach, FL.