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Poland: Fighting Cancer Online

Lenka is a joyful 5-year-old and Paula is an interior design student in her early twenties. You wouldn’t think that they have anything in common but they do. They both have cancer and they both have blogs describing their fight with the disease.

These blogs are good examples of how today’s blogosphere is evolving. They prove that a blog doesn't necessarily have to be just an online diary: it may become a very powerful social media tool.

Paula

In one of her first posts Paula describes the moment when she was diagnosed with a potentially deadly disease:

It felt like someone just smacked me in the face with a frying pan

And how she later realised that a diagnosis doesn’t necessarily mean the end:

It was like a spark; a spark of hope and willingness to fight. Something that made me believe that despite what was happening I could live a long life and my body could fight any disease, no matter how deadly.

Paula

Paula

Paula

Paula

Paula’s cancer turned out to be a very rare one and soon after the operation she was told that there is not much conventional medicine could do to help her. ‘Your tumour is malignant and we don't know how to treat it,’ said the Polish doctors throwing up their hands. Luckily, Paula’s sister found out about a clinic in Boston, which had successfully treated patients with the same problem. Paula contacted the American hospital and soon received an invitation to a consultation. The doctors were happy to start the treatment, the only problem was its cost, a staggering $250,000. But Paula didn’t give up here either. She started using her blog to ask for financial help. Thanks to the generosity of her readers and other bloggers linking to Paula’s website, the money was soon raised and in August last year Paula flew to the United States to undergo an operation.

Today she still has numerous tumours in her lungs and needs more treatment, but she remains positive and optimistically looks into the future. In an interview for the Polish edition of Newsweek she was asked whether she was still scared. She said:

Yes, but when I am scared I think about my arrival from Boston. My friends are waiting at the airport. They are all happy, jumping and waving at me. It is a sign that everything went okay. I’ve decided that I will live and so I will.

Lenka

Paula might have never started a blog if it wasn’t for little Lenka and a blog written by her parents, which inspired Paula to write about cancer.

Lenka was diagnosed with leukemia last April, soon after her fourth birthday. Ania and Andy, her parents, decided to start a blog when they couldn’t keep up with informing friends and family about Lenka’s condition. They soon realised that writing is a form of catharsis. Lenka’s blog has many followers, who comment on the posts in order to comfort and support both the little girl and her parents:

Let’s keep our fingers crossed. Lena must get better. She must!!!! There’s no other option, and you, her parents, keep being strong. You are a great family!!

I hope that the sun will soon shine for this little girl and for you guys… Remember to always have hope and to believe… She looks like a little angel. I hope she will be healthy. I will have her in my prayers. Fingers crossed.

It’s the comments, the parents say, that keep them going and motivate them to carry on writing. Lenka’s condition has recently improved slightly and she is now waiting for the weather to get better so her parents can take her out for a long-promised ice cream.

Both Lenka’s and Paula’s blogs were entered into the 2009 Blog of The Year competition and thanks to the votes of their readers they both reached the finals.


If you want to support Paula or Lenka visit their blogs on:
www.paulapruska.blogspot.com
www.dlalenki.blogspot.com

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