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Going through an extended illness can be an overwhelming experience. In addition to the physical difficulties you face, you may also face a lot of difficult emotions. You may feel isolated in your journey and wonder if others are going through the same things you are. You might want to connect with others who have had similar experiences, and you might want to connect with your friends and family to let them know how you’re doing.

For patients and the families of patients who are going through a health crisis, treatment or recovery, CaringBridge can be a valuable resource. A CaringBridge site is a free service that gives you and your family a tangible, meaningful way to communicate with loved ones and enhance their hospital visits. This social network is a personal, protected space that acts as a home base where patients can chronicle their experience online for family and friends. Each personalized site also helps you rally your support base and accomplish daily responsibilities made more difficult by treatment.

When you make a CaringBridge site, you can personalize it with your or your loved one’s information:

  • My Story—to tell visitors to the site why it was created
  • Journal—to provide visitors with regular updates
  • Guestbook—to receive messages of love and encouragement from visitors
  • Photos—to show visitors pictures of their loved ones
  • Links—to provide visitors with additional information from web sources
  • SupportPlanner—to assign daily responsibilities to family or friends, such as collecting mail, feeding pets and providing breaks for regular caregivers.

CaringBridge is a completely free service. It is funded by individual contributions and partnerships with hospitals and health care organizations. CaringBridge is the most widely used online compassion technology service of its kind: every state in the U.S. and 6 percent of the population across the globe is represented by CaringBridge.

CaringBridge could greatly enhance your or your loved one’s healing journey. To make a CaringBridge site or to find out more about this service, please visit www.caringbridge.org/.