Social media has been very helpful in unifying people around certain causes. It's done a great job at it too, since relationships ranging from friendships to business partnerships have been created as a result. There is, however, a new social network that is striving to take this concept a little further.
The network is called IHadCancer.com and is designed to help connect people around the terrible disease that is plaguing the world. Although it is a niche social network, it is not limited to cancer fighters only. Instead, it is geared toward the fighters, survivors, and their friends and families.
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Mailet Lopez, the founder of the site, told us that, as a cancer survivor herself, she felt that the site was necessary. When she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008, she said that, although she had great doctors and family supporting her, it wasn't the type of support that she needed.
"I didn't have someone who was my age, who had gone through the same thing that could really connect with me about the things that I was going to be facing," she said. "So, I Had Cancer was born to connect people who had been in your shoes."
While it is possible to connect with others in the same situation on platforms such as Facebook, Lopez believes the experience is different. For instance, when she posted on Facebook that she had been cancer-free for 3 years, she received support, but not all of it was directly relevant.
She told us that users don't get the "kind of support that you really are looking for" on other sites. She also thinks that, because cancer is such a sensitive subject, a network focused on its users' needs is especially important.
The site serves as a resource for users and also includes networking components such as a profile, friending abilities, sharing capabilities, and more. It even contains a "Dear Cancer" section where users can address the disease directly. Lopez said this section has been very therapeutic.
She knows that it would be quite a mission to pull people away from the likes of Facebook and Twitter, so she hopes that users will use I Had Cancer in conjunction with the other networks. She also plans on using these other platforms to help promote I Had Cancer.
"Eventually, ideally, what I would like to see I Had Cancer be used as is the minute you're diagnosed... we want to help turn it around into 'I had cancer,'" she said.
For more information on the site, visit IHadCancer.com.