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CarePages Keeps Loved Ones Up to Date

CancerWise - November 2008


By Darcy De Leon

Updating friends and family after a loved one has been hospitalized with a health condition, such as cancer, can be a time-consuming, tedious task. One way to inform everyone at the same time and receive support at your own convenience is through a free Web site service called CarePages.

“People have used the site for a lot of different reasons,” says Sharon Langshur, M.D., who founded the site along with her husband, Eric, in 2000. “Besides keeping people in the loop and providing emotional support, users promote fund drives or blood drives or ask for whatever else they need. They may need transplant donors. People have used it as a way to coordinate meals and rides.”

Patients or caregivers can create Web pages directly through the main CarePages Web site or through a CarePage site that identifies the hospital where patients are receiving care. More than 700 hospitals, including M. D. Anderson, have purchased the service for use by their patients. The sites provide hospital-specific information, including visiting hours.

The site also has inspirational stories, message boards for specific disease types, a gift shop, health-related articles and blogs.

How it began

Langshur and her husband started CarePages after their son, Matthew, needed surgery for a heart defect he was born with in 1998. During that time, the couple found it difficult to keep in touch with others, so Langshur’s brother created a Web site that would later become the basis for CarePages.

“The ability to print off the messages from family and friends and read them at our leisure, when Matthew was asleep, or when we felt a need for support, was just amazing,” Langshur says. “And we were getting a couple of thousand people a day checking the site.

“The outpouring of support from our immediate family was amazing to us, but we didn’t realize how much larger our circle was — friends of friends, friends of siblings, people from church groups, acquaintances, co-workers.”

Today their son is doing well. He’s a happy, active fifth grader, who takes great pride in the fact that he was the inspiration for CarePages.

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© 2014 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center