Advocacy Spotlight: MyLifeLine.org

| April 18, 2011
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Marcia Donziger, founder of the MyLifeLine.org Cancer Foundation.
Marcia Donziger, founder of the MyLifeLine.org Cancer Foundation.

History and Mission

MyLifeLine.org Cancer Foundation believes a strong support community is critical for cancer patients. Every day we provide free, personal websites to cancer patients and caregivers to easily connect with family and friends, because no patient should ever feel alone.

At the age of 27, Marcia Donziger, the founder, was diagnosed with stage III ovarian cancer. During the treatment process, she really struggled with communicating effectively with friends and family. She couldn’t call people back in time when she was sick and found it depressing to repeat the same information over and over.

In 2003, Marcia met Lori, who was diagnosed with brain cancer at age 33. Lori’s friends owned a Web company and created a beautiful website so that her family could easily communicate during the treatment process. Marcia knew this was a tool that would have been incredibly helpful during her recovery stage.

Sadly, Lori passed away at age 35. Marcia kept thinking about Lori and the incredible support she received. Lori’s mom called the website their family’s “lifeline.” MyLifeLine.org was founded in 2007 as a nonprofit organization—in Lori’s memory—so every cancer patient would be surrounded by the best support network possible.

Today, people are overwhelmed with emails, phone calls, text messages, and more. MyLifeLine. org is the only personal website service that consolidates all caregiving needs in one place while focusing 100% on cancer and the tools necessary to navigate the treatment process.

Achievements and Initiatives

Since 2007, MyLifeLine.org has grown to support over 30,000 people, including patients, caregivers, friends, and family. The website gets over a quarter million visits per month from 93 countries and 6,330 cities. In 2010, the growth rate of members exceeded 50%.

Research proves that when a patient has a strong support community, treatment compliance and healing outcomes improve while mortality rates decrease.

Collaborating with strategic partners is a key initiative. MyLifeLine.org offers cancer centers and nonprofit partners the option to provide co-branded patient websites in exchange for outreach benefits, such as placement on the partner’s home page and other marketing vehicles. Through these strategic partnerships, MyLifeLine.org will reach more people and improve patient outcomes.

Program innovation is another key initiative. MyLifeLine.org is currently working on the creation of a mobile version and iPhone and Droid applications with unique features important to cancer patients. Other future innovations include a healthcare gift registry, prescription assistance tool through partnerships, survivorship and memorial guidance tools, and more.

MyLifeLine.org - Connect, inspire, heal

Personal Website Features

MyLifeLine.org's personal websites are offered to patients and caregivers at no cost. Here are some of the features.

  • The Helping Calendar is the place to add chemotherapy and radiation schedules. Here patients can ask for help like a friend to accompany them to these appointments so they won’t feel alone. This can alleviate many duties from the main caregiver.
  • The Learning Links page enables patients to share information on their specific cancer type.
  • The Laughing Medicine page is the place to smile. Every day, a new joke is shared to lift people’s spirits.
  • The Giving Angels page is the place where patients can set up a personal fundraiser to raise money needed for medical costs not covered by insurance.
  • The Member Updates feature is the place to share health updates. Sharing in one central place relieves the patient or caregiver’s burden of repeating the news multiple times.
  • The Guest Messages page is where friends and family can inspire patients through messages of love and encouragement.

Patient Perspective

"MyLifeLine was the best thing to help me recover. I never felt alone. Thank you for such a great service."

Don and Rebekah were a couple in their 50s living in Colorado. Rebekah struggled with pancreatic cancer since her diagnosis in February 2009. At first, she was against having a website to communicate with loved ones. But Don pressed her to let him create one on MyLifeLine.org.

Once they started, the support was overwhelming. Over 100 friends waited weekly for her updates. Because of the website’s Helping Calendar, they had drivers for all of Rebekah’s chemo and radiation treatments. They also had a steady stream of meals coming weekly. MyLifeLine.org allowed Don to continue to work without giving up vacation days.

"This could not have happened without your website. It has made our lives easier in spite of the tremendous stress we are under."

Sadly, Rebekah passed away in June 2010. Don expressed his gratitude to MyLifeLine.org for providing a tool that made the end of Rebekah’s life special and meaningful.

 


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Talk about this article with nurses and others in the oncology community in the General Discussions Oncology Nursing News discussion group.
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