What is CaringBridge?

Monday, October 15, 2012
By, Melissa Maggio
Families unprepared for a loved one’s cancer diagnosis can be overwhelmed by medical terminology, treatment decisions and hospital visits. During times like these, cancer patients and caregivers need support from extended family and friends. But even trying to respond (much less reaching out) to them using the phone or personal emails is overwhelming and exhausting.

CaringBridge was created to help these families stay in touch and provide information, while increasing time available for the patient and their caregiver. CaringBridge cancer support websites can be an important tool for families dealing with the stress of a cancer diagnosis, giving them an appropriate outlet for sharing their feelings and receiving support.

 

Simplify Communication

CaringBridge provides free personal and private websites that connect patients experiencing cancer or any other significant health challenge to family and friends, making each health journey easier. The site provides a place for users to post journal entries and photos, as well as receive messages of hope and encouragement in a guestbook.

Using CaringBridge to centralize communication during a health journey makes it easier to share news, saving time and emotional energy. Everyone can stay in touch, regardless of time zones and area codes.

 

How to Create a CaringBridge Website

A CaringBridge cancer support website can be created by visiting CaringBridge.org. By following a few simple steps, a personalized website complete with privacy options can be started in just minutes. The author introduces the reason for the CaringBridge site in “My Story” and provides ongoing updates through entries in the journal. Authors can forward their unique and private CaringBridge website name and address to family and friends.

Although many use CaringBridge during a cancer journey, the service can be used by patients, caregivers and families in all types of medical situations, including premature birth, organ transplant, extended hospitalization, hospice care, serious injury, stroke, and rehabilitation.

 

The Power of Connection

When faced with a significant health challenge, connecting with family and friends to receive love and encouragement can make the journey easier as well as reduce isolation and stress. In a 2010 survey of CaringBridge users, 91 percent of patients agreed that using CaringBridge helped make their health journey easier. Not only that, 88 percent of patients agreed that having a CaringBridge website positively impacted their healing process.

“The collective warmth and support that comes [from CaringBridge] has been phenomenally meaningful,” said Bill Lindberg, a cancer survivor and CaringBridge user.

Using a personalized website makes updating loved ones much more manageable, reducing the number of phone calls needed to be made and allowing cancer patients to focus on healing. For many patients, writing about their experience on a site like CaringBridge also serves as therapy and a source of healing, allowing them time to reflect on what really matters.

 

Worldwide Impact

More than 43 million people visited CaringBridge in the last 12 months to share their story and show support. The CaringBridge community includes authors, visitors and/or donors in all 50 states and more than 225 countries/territories around the world.

 

2010 Activities

CaringBridge introduced several new features for the website including smartphone applications for the Android and iPhone, and a mobile website to help people stay connected on-the-go.

 

2011 Goals

  • To reach more families that could benefit from using CaringBridge during a significant health challenge through partnerships and marketing efforts.

 

To learn more about CaringBridge, or create your own cancer support website, visit www.CaringBridge.org.

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