March 10, 2011

Harnessing The Power of Connecting On and Off-Line


If you're reading this post, chances are, you've recently Facebooked, Tweeted, Friended or Liked someone. As the quickly changing landscape of multimedia and social networks continue to take shape -- and then change again, we'd like to ask you this -- what impact do your online clicks, clacks and messages have on the users on the other side of the screen? Go Inspire Go's board member, Marcia Estarija Silva, shares her experience of how she reconnected and helped a Facebook friend in need.

Good, genuine people attract other good, genuine people. That’s how I met Roseabelle, by way of my childhood friend Rachelle. Over the years, I have crossed paths with Roseabelle at various Rachelle-related events, from birthday parties to a wedding and, in this age of social networking, quite frequently on Facebook.

Through Roseabelle’s Facebook status updates, I followed the progress of her daughter Olivia. Born July 5, 2008, Olivia was diagnosed with Stage 3 Wilm’s Tumor on July 24, 2009.


My heart rose and sank with Roseabelle’s updates, learning that Olivia was back in the hospital because of a serious infection or that her sonograms and X-rays were clear or that Olivia was thankfully only suffering from pneumonia (yes, there was relief that it was *only* pneumonia).

Roseabelle also provided lighter updates, like a posted picture of adorable Olivia enjoying a pony ride at Camp Arroyo. These posts reminded us that, despite all the hospital visits, Olivia was a fighter and, through it all, still able to enjoy being a little girl.

Roseabelle’s candor and strength inspired me. She didn’t have time to be emotional. All that mattered was getting Olivia the care that she needed.


How did Roseabelle keep a strong face? According to Roseabelle, it was love and support from family and friends that helped her get through this.

Olivia’s treatment ended in February 2010 and she is currently doing really well. She has had check-ups every 3 months since and test results have come back negative. Olivia is hitting all the milestones for her age, like walking and talking.

Cautiously optimistic, Roseabelle is now focused on keeping up with her 2 year-old who registered for preschool last fall. While Roseabelle has returned to work full-time at a gluten-free bakery and occasionally teaches at a cooking school, her first priority remains to keep Olivia healthy.

An active supporter of the American Cancer Society, Roseabelle notes that the organization does more than prevention, education, research, and advocacy. It also provides services to those in need, from giving rides to patients who can’t drive themselves to appointments to providing college scholarships for children with parents who’ve exhausted their savings on treatment.

She continues to participate in Relay for Life, a fundraising event for the American Cancer Society. To support Olivia and Roseabelle directly, visit Team LIV’s Relay for Life page. To volunteer, join or create a team, visit American Cancer Society's Relay for Life. To get on Roseabelle’s mailing list of events and news, email her at roseabelle@roseabelle.com.

I’d also like to encourage you to reach out to friends on Facebook (or other social networks) that you’ve fallen out of touch with -- especially those who are going through a difficult time. Then set aside time to meet with them and connect off-line. When I read emotionally revealing postings from my online-only friends, I often think my message won’t really mean anything to them. I’ve learned that a simple gesture, whether it’s ‘liking’ a status update, commenting on a picture or connecting them to someone who could help, can mean more that we think. If you are willing, let them know you are listening and that you care. I hope this post inspires you to reach out to the people you care about.

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1 comment:

  1. Thanks for reminding us Marcia that our relationships should be both on and off line. I'm glad to hear that Olivia is better, and without social networking, you may have never known about Roseabelle's situation at all and would have never been inspired.
    The high school I used to work for always holds a Relay for Life event, and you've now inspired me to look into that further and possibly volunteer to help or sign up to participate! Thanks :)

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