Great Gloria Dougherty is proof positive that good things can come from the saddest of circumstances. Here is how we came to know and love Gloria.
The day after the unthinkable happened at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, we sent an eblast that included a link to the story How Mental Health Professionals Speak with their Own Children About School Shootings. We heard from many Cardies saying simply, “Thanks, I needed this!” And then we received a far more impassioned email signed, “With kindest wishes, Gloria Dougherty.” She’d written, “I am a long-time fan, and I buy Cardthartic wherever I can. In the past year I’ve sent your wonderful Worry Dolls card to at least a dozen friends suffering in these hard times. But your message today has left me feeling hollow.
“While I applaud helping parents/grandparents to offer comfort and solace,” Gloria wrote, “I wish you had also encouraged each to speak up, to call on Congress and local legislators to stop this madness. And, once the parents/grandparents have spoken up, they could share with the children, ‘This is what I did to try to stop this.’ We all need to speak out,” she said, and signed off with, “FYI, Sirhan Sirhan was a neighbor, walking by my front door on his way to kill Robert Kennedy. That was in 1968; I’ve been at this a long time.”
Wow. Admiring how forthright, committed and caring she is, we emailed Gloria back right away. Our founder Jodee shared with her that Cardthartic generally takes more of a supportive vs. activist role, like fulfilling the request of our longtime Connecticut Rep Donna Dillingham who — before the rest of the nation woke to the devastating news out of Sandy Hook — called to ask that we please overnight a donation of as many condolence cards as we could to our Retail Partners in the area, so the cards could be given away. “Many, many will be needed,” Donna so rightly said that horrific day.
Gloria soon replied, “Thank you for your thoughtful and prompt response.
While sad, I appreciate it. I know I am not alone, but feeling helpless just the same.” Next came, “A few days have passed since our email exchange. Still feeling despondent, I went to the Post Office and purchased 150 postcards … I addressed them in batches of three for our members of Congress, and then sent a heartfelt message to neighbors and friends: “Would you like some postcards to send your own words to Congress re: gun control/safety?” Well, the cards have literally flown out of my hands — people are asking for 5-10 sets! Tomorrow I will go buy more. Our notes may not accomplish anything but, when I see that I am not alone, that gives me hope.”
A few days later she reported, “My postcard project is now up to 250 sent. And counting! I think the participation shows that my friends and (I hope/pray) most people feel desperate to do something. The gun issue is just huge and feels overwhelming, but I hope there is a crack of light shining here. Kindest wishes and hopes for us all.”
Gloria’s passion and persistence persuaded us that we just had to find a supportive way to run with her idea whose time has come, while staying true to our own mission of “Honoring Emotions.” Our founder envisioned a Please Listen postcard left blank on the back so people could express their own feelings to legislators, in their own words. Our talented Creative Director Valerie Sebring — who, with two young sons, approached it as a labor of love — had a design to show Gloria within an hour of hearing Jodee’s idea. Our forever printing partner, Premier Print Group, offered to produce them quickly for us and (generously) at-cost. We called Gloria to find her “writing another batch of 50!” When she heard our plans, she grew silent for a moment before saying, “Well, it’s a good thing you can’t see me right now, because I’m sobbing. We might REALLY do something here.”
Before we knew it, Gloria’s campaign had grown to 27,000 Please Listen postcards sent to legislators across the land. That included about 4,000 we sent to student government groups at Stoneman Douglas in Parkland, and within Columbine, Aurora, and Sandy Hook, too. “My birthday is coming up,” Gloria shared with us, “and, as a gift, my husband Ron is buying me 1,000 more stamps for another batch of the postcards I ordered today!
“Thank you,” Gloria has said, again and again. “It’s just so easy to give these to people. They gobble them up and ask for more. Last week (therapy dog) Amos and I were at the nursing home where I saw a woman with a political bumper sticker on her walker. Taking a chance, I said, ‘Would you like some stamped, addressed postcards to write Congress about gun control?’ She was thrilled, and later tracked me down for more. ‘We can never give up,’ she said. My team is growing!” ❤