WHAT: A house on Mockingbird Lane in Dallas with a gigantic bronze elephant statue in its front yard.
WHO: A little girl whose parents drove her past that house every day on a two-hour trip to the hospital from Sherman.
WHY IT’S SO GREAT: Erica was nine years old when her parents began taking her on daily drives down from Sherman to Children’s Medical Center in Dallas, a 60-mile trip each way, per the Dallas real estate blog Candy’s Dirt. The treatment was intense, according to a letter she sent to the homeowner. But part of how she got herself out of bed involved looking forward to seeing the elephant statue in the yard of the house on Mockingbird Lane. In her letter, Erica wrote, “One of the only reasons I went there besides the hope of getting better was so I could see the ‘elephant house.’ Your home was one of the few reasons I made it through.” She explained to the unsuspecting homeowner how the statue kept in the yard for 25 years provided support when Erica needed it the most. “You were a HUGE part of my story and I still pass by your house and remember how special it was and still is to me,” she wrote in the letter last year, when she needed to return for check-ups every three months, rather than daily. “You greatly impacted me without knowing it and your elephant helped me so much. So thank you. Thank you for giving me the courage that I needed in that chapter of my life. To thank you, I painted you a portrait of your elephant: do with it what you like.” Over the picture of the elephant, which wears a crown of flowers in the painting, she gave it a name: Hope.