Maggie Worthen had just finished the last paper of her college career and was preparing to graduate from Smith College in Massachusetts when she suffered a severe brain stem stroke which left her in a coma.
The next day, a family friend set up a personal CaringBridge website for Maggie. Since her stroke, the site has kept hundreds of family and friends informed and involved in Maggie’s ongoing treatment and recovery process.
Nancy Worthen, Maggie’s mother, estimated that when it was first set up 100 people were visiting Maggie’s CaringBridge site each day. “You just have so many people who want information and are trying to reach you. We wanted to make it simple for people to find out what was happening,” she explained.
Encouragement from Around the World
Having studied abroad in Spain during college, Maggie had concerned friends from around the world staying updated on her treatment and recovery through her CaringBridge site.
People from as far away as Africa, England and Spain have posted prayers in Maggie’s guestbook. These messages have helped Nancy stay strong throughout the difficult process.
Now she continues to update Maggie’s CaringBridge site to connect with a vast support network. “I try to give people a window into her life,” she says. “Because people can’t visit her since they’re too far away, it’s like they are visiting her when they look at her website.”
Surviving the Difficult Journey
Maggie was in a coma for 18 months before she regained consciousness. During that time, Nancy helped cope with the challenging situation by sharing her thoughts and feelings on Maggie’s CaringBridge site and reading guestbook messages from family and friends.
“My favorite part about CaringBridge was that I got supportive messages back from people,” she says. “Sometimes it’s just really lonely when you’re traveling in a journey that is so difficult.”
Nancy is extremely grateful to be able to communicate with her support network through CaringBridge. “I think that CaringBridge has been the only thing that has created a community for Maggie and I to survive this journey,” she says. “Without CaringBridge, it wouldn’t have been this easy to get support.”
Currently, Maggie is communicating by moving her left eye up and down and is working with a speech therapist to communicate with the help of a computer.