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Discovering CaringBridge for times of family distress was a truly eye opening experience for me, my family and friends. Every person, every family passes through difficult times in the course of a year or a life time. In this age of computer technology I guess it shouldn't be a surprise to discover how truly incredible computer websites can be when it comes to dispersing information and keeping people connected even in times of high stress. Discovering CaringBridge has so much to offer,in so many trying situations.

Not surprisingly CaringBridge Website grew out of the personal tragedy of a single family. Trying to keep people informed about the medical progress, prognosis and end results could have put a great deal of additional stress on a family dealing with the birth of premature baby. But a technically savvy friend gave this struggling family the lift they needed by producing a website which enabled them to send out information and receive messages of support simply and securely. The success of this project was multiplied when a memorial fund was donated to St. Paul's Children's Hospital in Minnesota to help set up a free website for use by patients and their families to keep connected during difficult times.

Out of this very localized success has come widespread development that has seen CaringBridge mushroom over the last 12 years since this effort began. According to statistics compiled by CaringBridge more than 155,000 sites have been created to manage the important flow of information and personal messages between patients and their families and friends. An incredible 30 million people have visited the CaringBridge site in the last 12 months alone. Still, until you have faced a catastrophic situation as an individual or family you may be unaware of the wonderful service that CaringBridge can offer you, for free.

When a close friend of mine developed cancer I was invited to participate in what is an ever burgeoning net-work of friends and family. For my friend and his family this means no more well meaning but often tiring and irksome phone calls to contend with and no more unexpected and taxing personal visits. For friends who have signed on to this personal website via CaringBridge it means that we receive an automatic notice every time our friend or his family has a status report they want to share. We can read it , re-read it and it becomes part of the ongoing patient journal CaringBridge site. Patients with their families can even put together a photo album that helps to give another level of comfort to anxious friends and relatives standing by.

Whenever we want to send a message to our friend we go to the site and type away. The patient can check in to see what friends and family members have to say and can also re-read messages, hopefully drawing strength, support, perhaps even a smile from accessing what has been left. The messages sent are open so that everyone sees what is being said and often can successfully dovetail a message or determine not to just repeat what everyone else seems to be saying. The sheer number of messages gives everyone participating a feeling of the strength born of community.

The most natural instance one can think of for a person using this kind of assistance might well be a cancer patient or someone undergoing other long term treatment program. Having a built in communication system really can eliminate so much hassle about giving everyone the same information and getting the best use out of the supportive messages friends might wish to communicate. But there are others who also make use of CaringBridge. The family that originated CaringBridge was one that had grouped together to deal with a premature birth. Families of deployed military personnel, friends and relatives of injured war vets and families and friends of those involved in international adoption transactions continue to use CaringBridge as a most helpful and satisfying tool.

CaringBridge is not a computer tool meant just for electronics whizzes or computer geeks, CaringBridge is meant for times of family distress. It is meant to help relieve some of the stress and uncertainty and reduce the aggravations and miscommunication that are all a part of a long term illness or other family trauma. CaringBridge is meant to keep us all connected during challenging times

Sources:

www.CaringBridge.org

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