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“Need To Talk? I’ll Listen.” Cancer Survivor Lends A Kind Ear To Complete Strangers.

a tent set up by will norman in azle, texas. the tent has a sign that reads "need to talk? I'll listen. confidential/no judgement." underneath the tent are two chairs, one where will is sitting an another where a different man is sitting.

When Will Norman was going through the hardest year of his life, he learned a lesson so valuable he wants to share it with the world: You are not alone.

His lowest point happened in 2020, though the pandemic wasn’t the cause – Will, a cancer survivor, was struggling personally, and he didn’t have anyone to talk to about it. Feeling so alone took a toll on him but, with time, he found the strength to try something scary but exciting… he reached out to complete strangers.

“I felt alone,” Will said. “I felt like I was in a hole, just kind of by myself. I felt like there was no one.”

In order to find people to talk with, he set up a tent and some chairs in the parking lot of a local liquor store, located at one of the busiest intersections in Azle, Texas. Next, he put up a sign that reads, “Need to talk? I’ll listen. Confidential/no judgement.”

That was three months ago. Now, Will spends up to nine hours a day talking with strangers who have so much they’ve been waiting to get off their chest. From cancer diagnoses to drug addiction and alcohol abuse, Will has heard it all.

It may come as a surprise that so many people are willing to give such personal details to a total stranger, but as someone who has been exactly where they are, Will understands perfectly.

“Cause they have no one,” he said. “People say, ‘Nobody cares about me, they don’t care what happens to me.’ And I’m like, ‘Well, I care what happens to you.'”

It’s one thing to tell someone you care, but Will goes the extra mile by proving it with action. Once, a man who was planning on taking his own life saw Will and decided to talk with him.

During their conversation, Will encouraged him to reach out for help – and so he did. After a week spent in the hospital, he made his way back to the tent to express his gratitude.

“And he turned around and started walking off and he just stopped and turned around and said, ‘I love you.’ And I said, ‘I love you too,'” Will said, holding back tears.

When he first set up his tent, Will was hoping to find some company. Now, just three months later, he’s not only helping himself out of a dark place, but countless others as well.

“Last year was the worst of times for me, but at the same time it was the best of times because it led to what I’m doing now,” he said. “It’s given me a purpose to do. A purpose in life.”

Don’t forget to share Will’s story with a friend.

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