Photographer’s Lasting Image of CaringBridge: A ‘Sacred Place’

National Geographic photographer David McLain, with images of families featured in How We Heal, at a donor appreciation event for CaringBridge in November 2017.

CaringBridge is a sacred place in the online world. It is beautiful. And rare.

I say this as a National Geographic photographer who has seen many beautiful and rare things. But nothing quite like CaringBridge, which exists to quietly, selflessly help people through their darkest days, and asks nothing in return.

If you have shared your own story on CaringBridge, or followed someone through a health journey, you know this power.

But it was a new experience for me in 2017, as I found myself traveling the country to interview and photograph families who have, quite simply, been to hell, and back.

With the hope of helping others, these amazing families—who have CaringBridge in common— welcomed me into their homes, and hearts, to talk about what has made them whole again after a health crisis.

What they shared became How We Heal, a project launched in September 2017 to begin exploring the topic of healing, something that is easy to see, and hard to explain.

One thing I saw, everywhere I went, is that everyone heals differently.

Mike and Bud Hart

Bud Hart has been a caregiver for his son, Mike, over the years Mike has been living with an undiagnosed autoimmune disease.

Like Mike and Bud Hart of Alexandria, VA, a father-son duo where the “traditional” roles of caregiving have been reversed. As Mike lives with an undiagnosed autoimmune disease, Bud helps his son keep going. The Hart Family has made a choice to focus on healing, without any certainty of restored health.

And then there is Cyteria Knight of Charlotte, NC, a social worker whose entire career has been about helping others. For her to be on the receiving end of help, after a ruptured brain aneurysm and stroke, has not been easy. But Cyteria’s dog, Halo, helped her through.

While every family I met has its own life lessons from health journeys, they are bound together through their use of CaringBridge.

Throughout this project, which I hope will continue, I have seen so many ways in which CaringBridge takes love, hope and compassion, and channels it straight to the people who need it most.

What is more rare and beautiful than that?

David McLain of North Yarmouth, ME, is a National Geographic photographer and documentary filmmaker. Through his collaboration with the CaringBridge team, stories about hope and healing are reaching families everywhere. See more of David’s photographs, videos and read the the stories of How We Heal.

New to CaringBridge?

New to CaringBridge and wondering what we do? CaringBridge is a nonprofit social network dedicated to helping family and friends communicate with and support loved ones during a health crisis through the use of free, personal websites. Know someone who could benefit from starting a CaringBridge site to keep loved ones informed and get the love, and support they need?

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Gloria Lindsley Apr 28, 2019 6:50pm
We care for my mother in law in our home. She was diagnosed with Parkinson and Lewy Body Dementia about 4 years ago, though looking back we believe she started with it 15 years ago. It is so difficult to determine when she is in Lewy Body mode or not. Very frustrating. So many questions yet to be answered.