Brittanie Penrose was battling cancer in 2010 when she threw a message in a bottle off a pier in California, but she had no idea someone would actually read her note someday.
And she never imagined that the someone would be a high school student in Guam — some 6,200 miles away.
But that's exactly what happened last week when 14-year-old Javier Sanchez, a freshman at George Washington High School in Talofofo, stumbled across the bottle during a beach cleanup.
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Three years ago when she was 24, Penrose was on a date with Aaron Lanari in Oceanside, Calif., when he surprised her with the bottle.
"I just thought it would be a really great date idea," Lanari told the Pacific Daily News.
"I gave her some paper and I said 'Write whatever you want.'"
So Penrose wrote about her story and described how she had been diagnosed with epilepsy at age 22. Subsequent CT scans revealed a brain tumor, she wrote, which led to surgeries and chemotherapy treatments. She also signed the letter and encouraged the discoverer to "find me on Facebook."
"I totally forgot all about it," Penrose, 27 and now cancer-free, told the Daily News.
The bottle also included a note from Lanari with lyrics from a song he was writing at the time:
"When intelligence is ignorant and empathy is absent, death and hate are present when joy and love are abstract."
He says he hopes the bottle story will inspire people to go after what they want in life.
"One thing I tell people and I tell myself is the only person in life that's gonna move you forward is you," he said. "It's up to us individually to fight for what we believe in."
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