Caring Bridge–a Brilliant Service I Hope You Never Need

Several years ago, when a then acquaintance and now dear, dear friend, was valiantly fighting (and eventually kicking the ass of) Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, she spent a lot of time in the hospital, and more time in bed at home, wiped out by the battle raging within and the weapons used by the doctors to win. As is so beautifully the case around the world when a friend or family member faces illness or is somehow incapacitated, those in the inner circle rally and come around to make life a bit easier in any way they can…ordering in favorite take-out food, bringing cookies, getting kids to school or appointments, taking care of pets, driving to doctor’s appointments, just hanging out quietly, springing for a massage or manicure or some way to indulge, fresh flowers…there are as many ways to reach out in a caring way as there are people who are inclined to do so.

One of the things I remember so vividly from that time was that our friend’s partner sent out a chain of emails with amazing regularity and incredible detail, updating those of us that weren’t in regular contact on her condition and current needs. His messages were witty and erudite and filled with every little nubbin of info…that’s his style, but I remember not only having the thought myself, but also discussing with several mutual friends: This is amazing how we are able to follow this journey. A large group of us laughed and cried and laughed a lot more, and knew how we could best check in, and know when NOT to bring the fourteenth tuna noodle casserole thinking it would be just what she wanted. Even from afar, I felt so close to the day-to-day, and remember thinking there should be a way for any family to do this, to keep loved ones in the loop.

Caring Bridge is a non-profit organization, funded by donors, that provides free, private websites to people experiencing significant health challenges so they can maintain and strengthen contact and communication. It is a personal and private space for health updates as well as messages and support from all the friends/family/colleagues/community, and it saves time and emotional energy when those things are at a premium. Not having to tell the story of what the doctor said or how a treatment is going a zillion times to a zillion well-meaning friends can be liberating for a patient and immediate circle. Photos, updates, health reports, well wishes, needs and requests, all of it can be posted on the easy-to-set-up websites, and a patient can read them any time of day or night, since energy and visiting times don’t always correspond. Every day, more than half a million people are already using the service in more than 225 countries around the world.

In this age of constant contact and social media, what better use of communication technology than finding ways to support one another? If you’d like to support Caring Bridge with a tax-deductible donation, click here.

One response to this post.

  1. I’ve used Caring Bridge before and think it’s Fabulous!

    Reply

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