On the 26th of January Ellen DeGeneres is set to celebrate her 60th birthday. It seems as good a time as any then for a reminder of her contribution to popular culture.

The story of Ellen’s coming out is a well-known and well-documented one but remains as one of the shining beacons of courage. Career-wise it wasn’t an easy period for Ellen as her sitcom was cancelled and no other offers for work were forthcoming. Still she persevered to now be not only one of the most recognizable people in the world but also one of the most beloved. It is the manner in which Ellen’s limitless enthusiasm and kindness seeps through the screen that brings smiles and joy to countless people around the world.

With the launch of Ellen DeGeneres show came a plethora of accolades and awards including the Medal of Freedom from former President Barack Obama. These awards and recognition were bestowed on Ellen not because she was merely a talk show host but for her indelible character.

Ellen DeGeneres cries while receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Tirelessly, Ellen has advocated for equal rights, campaigned for a bevy of causes, and been a shining example and role model for people from all corners of the world. Her mission to spread kindness and love has done more to inspire the world than most too.

It’s not unrealistic to say that the impact that Ellen DeGeneres has made on the world is immeasurable. For the LGBTQ community she has especially been an advocate, model, and example that it gets better. The number of lives she continues to inspire and change because of her advocacy is likely limitless.

Some would have you believe that kindness and joy are difficult to come by these days but you only have to turn on the Ellen DeGeneres show to get in spades.

We at OLAE wish Ellen the very best of birthdays and hope that she will be lighting up the screen and the world for many years to come.