Just last weekend, the bottle washed up on the southern shore of Guam, where it was picked up by 14-year-old George Washington High School student Javier Sanchez.
Sanchez showed his discovery to his biology teacher Linda Tatreau, who often uses bottled messages as part of lesson plans about ocean currents. They contacted Penrose, now 27 years old and cancer-free.
"I was just in total shock," Penrose said. "I was like, ‘Is this real? This can't be happening.'"
Aaron Lanari, Penrose's friend, encouraged her to write the letter and contributed some of his own lyrics.
“I’m stoked that this turned out to be such a happy event for so many people,” Lanari said. “I’m glad to be a part of it.”