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Lancaster native creates charity to help pay for therapy sessions

Elena Kilgore says even pop star Harry Styles has made a donation, helping her to pay for nearly 340 therapy sessions for people who need the assistance.

LANCASTER, N.Y. — Some of the best ideas rarely happen on purpose. 

"It was sort of an accident," said 25-year-old Elena Kilgore, a Lancaster native who lives in Denver. 

In Kilgore's case, inspiration came from not one but two breakups with the same guy.

"About a year ago, I was lightly dating this guy for about a month," Kilgore said. "The second time, he was like, I think I'm going to go to therapy. I was like what have I done?"

In February 2021, Kilgore also went to therapy. 

Realizing just how costly it can be, she started creating a solution with a new clothing company: Other People Fund.

"The average cost in the U.S. is between $100-$200 per session," Kilgore said. "Inspired by that breakup, I had this shirt made that says 'I think we should see other people and by that I mean therapists.'"

Kilgore also had sweaters and tote bags made with the same logo but all the proceeds go to paying for up to three therapy sessions for anyone who needs it in the U.S.  

"It was really going to be this small operation," Kilgore said. "On the day that I released the website and put it on Tik Tok, it blew up and I had 647 orders within 48 hours."

Customers all around the world have ordered something from Kilgore's Other People Fund.

"Harry Styles has my t-shirt," Kilgore said. "When I was coming up with the design and giving my artist the brief, I said 'Harry Styles would wear it on a t-shirt. If you would've asked me when I came up with it like what's your five-year goal, I would've been like pay for a lot of people's therapy and get it on Harry Styles and I did that in three months which was just the wildest thing."

Since then, Kilgore has been able to pay for nearly 340 therapy sessions for people who need a little extra help all because of an accidental idea. 

"To be able to help some people afford some therapy sessions can do a lot of good," Kilgore said. "I've talked to a lot of people about therapy in the last two years and I've never heard someone say they regretted going."

Kilgore runs the non-profit by herself and also helps people find long-term solutions if needed. 

She's gotten so many applications for therapy financial aid that she had to put a temporary stop on accepting any more. 

Kilgore will accept more in the new year but you can check for updates on her website. You can also make donations under the 'Support for the Psyche' tab.

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