Facebook. Love it or hate it, there's no denying that it is a huge part of every day life and how society now communicates. But today, I wanted to share how it can bring joy, support and an amazing sense of togetherness into the lives of people who would otherwise never have met.
As a first time mum to be, I joined a Facebook group back in June 2011. 170 other women also joined – connected only by the fact that our babies were all due in the same month. We have gone through the hormone filled days of pregnancy together; shared the joy of our babies being born; and chatted online together over virtual hot chocolate in the wee small hours of sleepless nights of early mummyhood and beyond.
But a couple of weeks ago, the group was rocked by the announcement that one of our members had advanced cervical cancer. This lady had suffered 9 miscarriages before finally having her precious baby – and as a young mother who had already been through so much, to now be told she would, at best, need a hysterectomy and never have any more children just seemed too cruel a blow. At worst…..well, no-one wanted to think about that.
None of us in the group had ever met this lady. But over the months, we had all been touched by her humour, incredible strength of resolve, and her amazing support of everyone else in the group. So we did the only thing we could do – we rallied round to help in whatever way we could. A separate Facebook group was formed to allow the other members to co-ordinate the sending of a mass number of get well cards. Between us we raised hundreds of pounds for her in case she needed private treatment. Or so she could simply treat herself. And two members today made the trip to visit her – to hand over the cheque, cards, and a beautiful cake.
This may not seem much. But I can't tell you the compassion and love that has been shared within this group in rallying to support this lady in her fight against cancer. And it has only been possible because of Facebook. It has allowed 170 women across the UK and Ireland, of different ages and backgrounds, to reach out to each other and provide invaluable support and understanding. We all now have a bond of friendship that is as strong as any offline.
And the good news is that our brave lady is winning her fight against cancer – initial scans show that the hysterectomy seems to have removed it completely. Whatever happens now, we'll all be there on Facebook to support her.
Do you have any stories to tell of how Facebook and Twitter have made a difference to lives? I'd love to hear from you.