A social network is providing a powerful connection point between family and friends during a health journey. Charlotte Goldthorpe takes a closer look.

CaringBridge became a non-profit organisation in 2002 and allows people to send updates about their health journey to friends and family and receive support and encouragement through difficult times.

The main mission of CaringBridge is to amplify the love, hope and compassion in the world, making each health journey easier. Since 1997, more than half a million CaringBridge websites have been created and its reach extends to 236 countries and territories.

The idea for CaringBridge came from founder Sona Mehring who was asked by a friend to let people know what was happening when she went into premature labour. Instead of making dozens of emotional and time-consuming phonecalls, she decided to create a website. That same night, her friend’s baby was born.

So how does it work? Firstly, you’ll need to visit the CaringBridge website to create your own profile page to keep loved ones up to date. Then, simply post an update to your journal and immediately spread the word about your situation. People can follow you and receive texts and email updates when you share a post. Your friends and family will interact with your posts by clicking on the heart or writing comments. They can also send thoughts and well wishes.

As well as updating family and friends, CaringBridge is also a way of engaging with your community.

You can post a personal fundraiser, coordinate tasks, include links to other websites and write down what you need help with.

CaringBridge is safe, secure and advert free. You can make your page completely private, or if you’d like it to be more of a health journal you can set it to be live for everyone to see.Every six minutes a new CaringBridge website is started, and hundreds of thousands of comments and well wishes are shared every day. To start your free website to share your PH journey visit: www.caringbridge.org