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Stroke Smart Magazine


Winter 2010
THE WEB

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Share Your Experiences
How Facebook Created a Stroke Community for Sara

This column is designed to provide insights and education about how stroke survivors and caregivers can use the Internet effectively during stroke recovery.

Tim Culver was away on a business trip when his then 42-year-old wife, Sara, suffered a stroke. Overnight, he became her caregiver and advocate. Since then, he has published a book called Saras Story, documenting the experience through stroke recovery. Culver also published a Web site, sarasstory.org, and started a group page on the popular social networking site, Facebook. While book sales continue and his Web site traffic steadily grows, it is the Facebook page that has prompted story sharing between fans, resulting in a community of people who might not have otherwise known each other. In effect, Culver has become a new type of grassroots advocate for stroke simply by using the Internet.

The ways people learn about disease and how to manage their health through personal knowledge and the expertise of their doctors are changing. About 65 percent of Americans are regularly online searching for health information. Patients and caregivers are going beyond online research and heading to health portals such as WebMD and social networks such as Facebook to find people like them and to share experiences.

Yesterday, a woman posted a story about her 35-year-old daughter-in-law who suffered an acute stroke, Culver said of his Facebook page. She has three children at home and the womans son faced a very similar situation to what I went through.  Talking about his stroke experience online has given him opportunity to help and encourage other survivors and caregivers, Culver says.

Browsing the Internet presents a challenge for some survivors without access to computers or who are unable to use a computer because of a disability. National Stroke Association recognizes this gap and strives to provide other resources alongside web-based activities. However, as the statistics continue to grow and reveal more people of all ages are online for various reasons  whether it is to connect with others or find valuable information  its clear the Internet is an important resource.

Join the 2,000 (and growing) stroke advocates on National Stroke Associations Facebook page by visiting stroke.org/facebook.

Get Online in Your Community

If you want to help educate someone who doesn’t know how to use a computer or have access to a computer or the Internet, consider visiting a local public library (publiclibraries.com) or a community center where staff can help the person learn for free.

Free Online Resources

  • CarePages: Patient Web sites and blogs that connect family during a health crisis. carepages.com
  • Facebook: Social networking space where users can join networks organized by city, workplace, school and region to connect and interact with other people. facebook.com
  • Twitter: Social networking and micro-blogging service that enables users to send and read other users updates known as tweets. twitter.com

 

Find out more about these resources and how to join them by visiting stroke.org.

Taryn Fort is director of programs marketing and communications, National Stroke Association.



 

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Our Mission Statement

National Stroke Association’s mission is to reduce the incidence and impact of stroke by developing compelling education and programs focused on prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and support for all impacted by stroke.

National Stroke Association

1-800-STROKES
1-800-787-6537
9707 E. Easter Lane, Suite B
Centennial, CO 80112
info@stroke.org