Utah man shares letter of hope from hospice

Nov 18, 2020, 12:19 PM | Updated: Jan 25, 2022, 4:34 pm

SANDY, Utah — It has been hard to find hope and inspiration in the pandemic, but somebody might just stumble across some if the person is lucky enough to find a special letter written by a Utah man living on borrowed time.

Brandon Lingwall — who has multiple sclerosis, is in a wheelchair and is on hospice — said he figured he wasn’t the only one who could use a little positivity.

“Times right now are just horrible,” Lingwall said. “It’s like everything is just sad and people don’t need that. They need uplifting now, so that was kind of my intention — just to at least make some people happy.”

Lingwall said an idea came to him after a social worker connected to the hospice company suggested he write his personal story.

Brandon Lingwall — who has multiple sclerosis, is in a wheelchair and is on hospice — said he figured he wasn’t the only one who could use a little positivity. He said an idea came to him after a social worker connected to the hospice company suggested he write his personal story. (KSL TV)

They soon came up with a plan for Lingwall to pen a letter and the social worker and her friends would hike it up to one of Lingwall’s favorite places — Sunset Peak near Brighton Ski Resort — and leave it for others to find.

“Hi, my name is Brandon,” the letter begins. “I’m from Sandy, Utah, and if you happen to be reading this letter, I want you to know I believe it is for a reason. I want to share my story. I was diagnosed with M.S. in 1999. Prior to my diagnosis, I was a very active person in every outdoor sport of any kind. My favorite, by far, was snowboarding. Other sports I loved included soccer, hiking, mountain biking, camping, skateboarding, rock climbing, basketball and tennis. Some of the best times of my life were camping at Lake Powell in Utah.”

“I’m on hospice now because my life is coming to an end,” the letter continues. “I feel I have so much more light and love to give this world, so my social worker suggested that I write a letter to share that love with you. She promised that she would hike it up to a popular trail on the Wasatch Front, stash it so that other people hiking could hopefully find it and read it. So, right here in this moment, this letter was sent for you.”

“I want you to find and cherish everything you love. I want you to make time for and hug the people you love. Tomorrow is not guaranteed. Because of M.S., I have never physically been able to put my arms around my son and he is 15-years-old now. I was never able to teach him how to throw or catch a ball, skateboard, snowboard or bike. Everything physical a father should teach his son was not an option for me. It was the most difficult thing I have ever had to deal with. I’m a quadriplegic now if that tells you anything. So, please, please take it from me—spend as much time as possible with the people that you love. Hug them. Tell them how much you love them.”

“Next, I would ask that you always be impeccable with your word. People need to know that they can rely on you no matter what. If you’re angry with someone or feel that you hate someone, put that crap behind you and forgive them. Hating somebody is just wasting your time. There’s way too much hatred in this world. Every choice you make—whether it be bad or good—is up to you. So if you want something, you must continue to make the right choices to get what you want. Go after your dreams, fight for them. One of my dreams is to be able to spread love long after my body has left this earth. I want my message of hope and love to continue and that’s where you come in. Will you share your story with me? If you find this letter, will you please send me a text containing a little story or just let me know that you found the letter and where it’s traveled to—you have the ability to be my legs and arms.”

Brandon Lingwall—who has multiple sclerosis, is in a wheelchair and is on hospice—said he figured he wasn’t the only one who could use a little positivity. (Photo: Andrew Adams, KSL TV)

The letter encouraged people to add their story to the letter and share it with the world, or take a selfie with a view in the background so Lingwall can travel vicariously through them. He also encouraged people to leave the letter or take it somewhere else for someone to find.

“I’d love to see how far it will travel,” Lingwall wrote. “Now go and share all the love that you have and all the time you have left with others, (signed) Brandon.”

Lingwall said it wasn’t three hours before he received the first message back.

“They said it was awesome reaching the peak and then basically it was like the ‘frosting on the cake’ when they found the letter,” Lingwall said.

Lingwall now shares the responses he gets on Instagram under the profile, @forbrandonslove77.

As people began to find his letter — with several copies out now along Utah trails — Lingwall’s message started to be shared around the globe.

“I want to have an impact on their lives from my advice,” Lingwall said. “(Multiple sclerosis) is a terrible disease. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy, but you can still do good with it.”

Lingwall lives with his caregiving mother and 15-year-old son, and he said another motivation for writing the letter was his son.

“I want something to happen that makes him proud to have me as a dad,” Lingwall said. “I’ve always been intrigued with that message-in-a-bottle-type-thing and I just wanted to see what would happen — and sure enough, good has come from it.”

He said he hoped his story and message would continue to inspire others.

“Just hug people — you can never hug too many people,” Lingwall said. “Especially if they’re your kids — hug them as much as you can because you don’t know what tomorrow is going to bring to you.”

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Utah man shares letter of hope from hospice