Caring Bridge- Creating a Community of Caring

Caring Bridge- a purpose built platform for empathy

Founded in 1997, Caring Bridge’s mission is to amplify the love, hope, and compassion in the world, making each health journey easier.

Recently, a dear friend was diagnosed with lung cancer.  The news was devastating to everyone whose life has been touched by her. Many questions where on my mind: why does this happen to someone so young and healthy; what can I do to help; how is my friend doing?  how is the family coping?

A couple of days after receiving the news, an email invite came to my inbox to join Caring Bridge.

I had never heard of Caring Bridge, but since that fateful day over months ago, I start my mornings by visiting this site. My friend has created a website to document the journey and treatment. The daily journal entries provide a sense of comfort and support for those who are affected by the health journey. More importantly, the support network can post comments and words of encouragement. What makes Caring Bridge work is that it serves a ‘job to be done’ better than the alternatives of Facebook or other social media platform. In this case, the job is ‘help me share with my closest friends and family what I am going through’. The level of security and access is strictly controlled by that given access to the page. In addition, the support network feels like a community. Most of us are only connected to one another because of the Caring Bridge journal created by my friend. Yet, I enjoy reading the comments of support that are posted to each journal entry.  Reading each comment is our own way of supporting our friend, and that creates a unique bond.

A few years ago, I was taking care of my father who was diagnosed with brain cancer.  He crossed over within six months of the diagnosis.   He had many friends who cared for him, and I tried my best to keep many of them updated.   The Caring Bridge platform would have worked so well in this situation.

According to Caring Bridge’s website, since 1997, more than 740,000 CaringBridge websites have been created. One in thirteen people in the U.S. have used CaringBridge to rally support for a loved one during a health journey, and our reach extends to 235 countries and territories around the world. The impact with the support network for each website would be in the millions and growing.

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Student comments on Caring Bridge- Creating a Community of Caring

  1. Hi Hari,

    Thank you so much for sharing this personal and touching post. I have never actively used Caring Bridge personally, but about 6 years ago, a college friend was paralyzed from the neck down after taking a dive in a shallow pool. He used Caring Bridge to update his friends about his recovery, and actually posted links to his Caring Bridge on his Facebook page frequently. I agree that it’s a better platform than Facebook for this context, because sometimes the updates need to be much longer and much more private. Interestingly, in trying to re-visit my friend’s Caring Bridge site, I now see that it requires me to have a login (which I have never had before). I wonder if that is an attempt by Caring Bridge to build in more security around privacy among its users. It’s also interesting (and makes sense) that Caring Bridge makes money fully from donations. That demonstrates to me that enough people are so affected by health journeys of loved ones that they find a service like this important enough to donate to. I have also had close friends go through their own health journeys, and part of what is so overwhelming for them is the need to keep everyone updated. Many of my friends will simply designate someone else to communicate with people who are concerned on their behalf. Caring Bridge, as you mention, seems to be a great way to help eliminate much of that overwhelm and streamline communications all in one place for those who want updates.

    I’m so sorry to hear about your friend and your dad.

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