My mom was diagnosed with cancer and she lives in a very remote area and has few real-life friends. She read that cancer patients have better survival rates if they have a website/blog, so she found caringbridge. It has surpassed all of our expectations of a nonprofit organization. They helped with IT support when my mom decided she no longer wanted certain people accessing her site. It gave her something to do between treatments...she would journal and post plenty of pics of her progress, and family and friends from around the world would support her through the hardest times. I don't know how our family would have been able to get her updates and support her without this site. I would recommend it, hands down, above any other site for anyone having a significant life event. My mom said she would go back and read the posts from people and look at pics people sent her when she was feeling very weak and down. Normally there is always a catch with a good website but there really were no fees, ads, or anything like that. You just need to be aware that if you donate it goes to caringbridge, not to the individual who is using the site. Try it and you won't regret it. Thanks caringbridge- you helped me be by my mom's side when I couldn't do it physically.
This has been a wonderful way for us to keep our family and friends up to date with what is going on with our youngest daughter who was diagnosed with a rare type of leukemia on 7/29/13 and is still undergoing treatment for the next 1.5 years hopefully. It is a daily struggle but knowing that everyone who wishes to can go online and read about her day is a great help and relief from having to call everyone.
Review from Guidestar
Never before have I ever felt so taken advantage of. During an incredibly difficult family crises I turned to CaringBridge to help with family communication. I was appalled when I found my newly created site had ads and pop-ups all over it, using my personal story as a way to ask for donations. Not to support me or my family during this difficult time, but to support this website.
I had friends and family informing me that when visiting the site they were greeted with annoying pop-up ads informing them that my daughter (by name) needed their finical help. In reality, CaringBridge was using my daughter, her story just yo make money.
I did some research and found that CaringBridge makes millions of dollars every year has has many employees making 6 figure incomes. This profit machine should be ashamed of it's practices.
Needless to say there are may other great alternatives to CaringBridge and I recommend checking them out.
I first used CaringBridge in 2008 when my mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. At that time, I lived 1500 miles away from my parents' home in Arizona, and then I moved to Germany in 2010. We were miles and then countries apart, and the site provided a critical and constant connection for us.
Like any family experiencing a health crisis, we needed and appreciated the support from friends and family. Yet Dad and I couldn’t keep up with all the questions and messages of support. Then a friend told me about CaringBridge. Over four years, my mom and I wrote over 100 Journal entries and her site received more than 16,000 visits. Writing in this journal was cathartic for me. Some days I was technical, defining terminology, researching, giving context and clarity to my mom's diagnosis, prognosis and options for treatment and care. On other days, I shared the emotional ups and downs we experienced. With the CaringBridge Journal updates in mind, I asked my mom questions, took notes on everything from doctor visits to what she ate that day, and always chose to look for positives during a difficult time.
CaringBridge was a lifeline that connected us to each other, and to an incredible community of support.
Review from Guidestar
CaringBridge was an invaluable resource to me, my family, colleagues and dear friends during the year I was battling and recovering from Gastric Cardia cancer (June 2010 - 2011). It would have be exhausting, if not impossible, to keep our network informed without CaringBridge. It is an invaluable private website journal that my 'supporters' had the choice to read and respond to made all the difference in our digital world.
I was referred to use CaringBridge thru a friend. Today I have 6 CaringBridge Sites that I have followed, sad to know that many people who have had the need - so pleased that CaringBridge was available to them too. Six families that have had the opportunity to be supported through this incredible and private journal and messaging resource. I understand CaringBridge has been able to expand their resources to include other support services (meal schedules, etc.) that friends can use to reach out and help the patient and family.
Regarding the donations (which some reviewers have complained about), it is very clear that the donation goes directly to CaringBridge. No smoke and mirrors here: "When you donate to CaringBridge, you help build a world filled with care and compassion." It is no different that when you donate to other charities "In Honor of, or in Memory of" an individual. This is not uncommon, and is a wonderful way to let the person you are paying tribute to know how valuable their communications are during their difficult journey.
I am constantly told by friends and family how much they appreciated being able to stay updated on my health through CaringBridge. It was the year of my 35th HS reunion, an event I had helped organize in the past. Through CaringBridge so many of my HS alums were able to reach out and send inspiration to the woman they had known so long ago. Those friendships long abandoned by busy lives have even revitalized. Such a Blessing. The Guestbook messages gave me comfort, strength, and encouragement. Even today, 3 years later I can look back and see how far I have come from those days and reflect on the support I received from so many - in a private concise journal. Email and Facebook cannot easily provide this private space for reflection.
The Prayers, Support and Encouragement I received using the CaringBridge site was an invaluable asset to my recovery! Thank you CARINGBRIDGE!!
I have worked for 3 non profit organizations during my career. I have no connection to the CaringBridge organization, staff or volunteers. My experience is just that of a member of the general public and someone who has received support through the service provided by the CaringBridge website.
Our family first became aware of Caringbridge through other similarly impacted families who had family members impacted by serious medical conditions. Our young son was diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma, and Caringbridge offered us a convenient and efficient way to keep family and friends informed about his progress as we fought his cancer. It also provided us a source of strength and encouragement as we read messages to bolster our fight along our journey to recovery. It continues to provide support encouragement to us, and we strongly recommend Caringbridge as a worthy charity for those looking to make a donation which will go a long way. Thanks!
Review from Guidestar
I first heard about CaringBridge in 2010 when my adult son was hospitalized with a rapid heart rate and was put on the HeartMate II as he awaited a heart to come available for transplant. This site was invaluable to me at that time. It gave me a way to keep family and friends aware of how he was doing. It gave those praying around the country a place to check in and made it so easy for me as I did not have to worry about omitting anyone.
He received a new heart in August of 2010 and is doing well. Could not have done it with this awesome site.
Then in 2011 I was diagnosed with Lymphoma and a friend began a site for me. I continue to update the same people. I have been cancer free since competing treatment in June of 2011. I Am so grateful for this website and the ease of use.
Thank you CaringBridge for being there.
Lake Forest Park, WA
CaringBridge has been an invaluable resource to my family during the past two years, as my mom has been battling ovarian cancer. We use the free website to communicate with our large extended families and my parents' extensive network of friends. It would be exhausting, if not impossible, to keep all of these people in the loop without CaringBridge. I am constantly told by friends and family how much they appreciate being able to stay updated on my mom's health through CaringBridge. The Guestbook messages give my mom comfort, strength, and encouragement. Our experience of my mom's journey with ovarian cancer would be entirely different without CaringBridge.
Regarding the donations (which some reviewers have complained about), I do know that CaringBridge is willing to refund any donation if the donor misunderstood that the donation would be directed to CaringBridge and not to the patient. That being said, 25 tribute donations have been made in my mom's honor, and I know that every single person who made a donation knew that it was going to CaringBridge. They wanted to give back to CaringBridge because of everything that CaringBridge have given to us. Several people have given multiple donations.
For full disclosure, I began volunteering for CaringBridge several months ago. However, my comments here are related to my experience as a CaringBridge user. Indeed, I would not be giving the organization any of my time if I did not think it is a worthy cause.
This company is sitting on a mountain of $4M in cash they've collected from unsuspecting donors... and that is after they pay their staff of 66 employees over $4.4M PER YEAR in compensation!
This company needs to be investigated by the IRS, FTC and FBI. Clearly its core purpose is to enrich the founders and employees by duping people into thinking they are helping other people with medical bills.
I will be contacting the Minnesota attorney general's office about this.
Also, I believe most of the five star reviews on this site and Yelp and others are written by employees... take a look at how they are worded and you will see what I mean. Scammy... very scammy.
My husband was diagnosed with late stage cancer several months ago, and we were told by friends about Caring Bridge. It took all of 5 hours for me to realize its value as the various emails poured in following the operation that gave us the unwanted details. I simply could not have kept up with communications any other way. As new people hear of his issue, we just send them to Caring Bridge first so we don't have to constantly retrace things. It is much, much easier for us and leaves the other person better informed.
Since then Caring Bridge has become our primary way of sharing our lives with friends and family. We know of many who go there first each day to see if there is a new post. For us, it is a way to talk about his cancer with some distance and perspective.
They have a Support Planner that can go with it the blog, to list tasks that the Caregiver or Patient may need done, that is also offered free.
Review from CharityNavigator