Published at LXer:
Ten years ago, IT consultant Sona Mehring had a friend who was going through a difficult pregnancy. Mehring wanted to help in some way, so she created a Web site where her friend could post updates throughout the pregnancy and the subsequent premature birth of her child, and visitors could post messages of encouragement and love. It was an efficient way of communicating because it eliminated the need for multiple phone calls and email messages. The family was so impacted by the online support it had received through Mehring's Web site that it donated money to the hospital to provide an onsite computer and Internet access to other families experiencing life-threatening illness and disease. That inspired Mehring to found CaringBridge, a nonprofit company that provides free customizable Web sites built on open source software.