Eagan, Minn. (September 26, 2017) – For the past 20 years, the Minnesota-based global nonprofit CaringBridge has provided a platform for hundreds of thousands of people going through health journeys to tell their stories and receive support. In order to spark a national dialogue, they are launching a new series called How We Heal.
With the help of National Geographic photographer and documentary filmmaker David McLain, they set out to discover what it was that has helped people heal during health crises. A call was made to CaringBridge users from across the country, many of whom have run the gauntlet, to reflect on their experiences. Less to revisit what happened – so often agonizing, frightening and hideously unfair – and more to draw out what has happened since.
From the abundance of submissions of people willing to share their stories with the CaringBridge team, they started the series by visiting with 20 families from across the country. They represent hundreds of thousands of families who have used CaringBridge since 1997.
“These amazing people opened their hearts, and homes, to describe how they have healed, revealing that they all made very specific choices to find healing,” said Liwanag Ojala, CaringBridge CEO. “We hope to help and inspire others by sharing these stories, but we also want to encourage a conversation around healing, specifically on how patients, caregivers and even their communities heal during a health crisis.”
The team found that every approach to healing was different, from a Gulf War veteran who takes target practice against the cancer that upended his life, to a young widow who changed careers to become an oncology nurse after losing her husband to brain cancer.
A number of experts in the health industry collaborated with CaringBridge on this new series including: Dr. Mary Jo Kreitzer, internationally renowned researcher, scholar and founder of the University of Minnesota’s Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality & Healing; Dr. Annie Brewster and Jonathan Adler, PhD, of the Boston-based, nonprofit Health Story Collaborative; and Dr. Archelle Georgiou, author of Healthcare Choices, a book on medical decision-making.
The series includes a short film, collaborative articles with industry experts, and a collection of stories featuring powerful photography and videos. Anyone can support the series by watching the short film, reading the stories, and sharing them on social media. By sharing these stories of those who have healed, CaringBridge hopes to provide some much needed support and inspiration to people going through a health journey. To watch the video and see the collection, visit caringbridge.org/Healing.
CaringBridge is a global nonprofit social network dedicated to helping family and friends communicate with and support loved ones during a health journey through the use of free personal websites. Their mission is to amplify the love, hope and compassion in the world, making each health journey easier. Nearly 90 percent of all funding comes from individual donors. Since its founding in 1997 by Sona Mehring, more than 675,000 CaringBridge websites have been created. Combined, they have received 2.1 billion visits. For more information, visit caringbridge.org.
About David McLain
National Geographic photographer and documentary filmmaker based in Maine. To see his work, and learn about his approach to storytelling, visit www.davidmclain.com.