Everyone is welcome in Gloria Gaynor’s new community!
The disco diva took home the first and only best disco recording Grammy award in 1980 for her 1978 hit “I Will Survive,” an anthem of empowerment written for anyone who had ever struggled to overcome a time or situation in their life.
As a song that truly has stood the test of time, Gaynor tells PEOPLE, “it lifts you up out of the muck and mire, gives you a desire to survive, and then inspires you to reach down inside and pull up fortitude that helps you to plow through whatever difficulties that you’re having.”
Now, decades after she, herself, overcame multiple instances of sexual abuse starting during her childhood and extending through her adult years, Gaynor has launched IWillSurvive.org, a charity fundraising site and online community, where people can “write their stories about the different things they have survived.”
For more from Gloria Gaynor on launching her online community, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday
“People do come to me with all of these stories, and they inspire and uplift and encourage me with these stories, letting me know that I’m not here just taking up space on this planet and rather that I’m serving a purpose and have been an inspiration to them,” she says about the most rewarding part of her new work. “That’s been the best part for me. That’s added such meaning and purpose to my life.”
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A few words of advice she has for survivors “from every walk of life and from every kind of situation or circumstance?”
“Never give up,” she says. “Just know that God has placed you in everything you need to survive whatever life throws at you.”
Join Gaynor’s network of survivors at IWillSurvive.org.