Our on-line stroke support community initially began in 1995 on AOL as informal chat sessions with stroke survivors. I was a regular at the chat meetings and volunteered to formally create schedule stroke support chat sessions and continue as host. I did this for AOL for at least 3 more years.
One of the issues that came up was that several stroke survivors in our chat group felt that on-line stroke support needed a focal point. We wanted to get ourselves organized and thought that possibly a web page might prove to be the focal point that we needed. I volunteered to get things organized and figured out how to make and publish a web page.
Besides being webmaster, I wrote practically every word on every page of the web site. I got things organized so we could keep track our membership, setup forums, chat rooms, blogs, write newsletters, organize links, articles, etc. Over the years, since February of 1996, the web page has evolved from just one web page to five networked websites with over 100 pages making it what is today, The Stroke Network. Originally, we started with three volunteer staff members. Today, we are managed by 45 unpaid volunteer staff members and 13 volunteers on our board of directors.
The web page was formerly called Stroke Support & Information and was located for several years on my personal web page with AOL at members.aol.com/scmmlm/main.htm. Our web site was renamed to The Stroke Network, with its current URL, strokenetwork.org, in January 2000. Also, I knew we needed constant funding so I found a lawyer that would help legitimize our organization. We were incorporated in September 2001 and we received approval as a 501©3 non-profit charity in March of 2002.
I should note that when I founded my website in 1996 that the Internet was extremely raw and not well formed. I founded our website because I came across so many stroke survivors and stroke caregivers that could not attend a local stroke support group, including myself. There were no other on-line stroke support groups until I published my web page.
Our website has the privilege of being the very first on-line stroke support site on the Internet! Also, we were amongst the first on-line 501©3 non-profit organizations, as well.
The Stroke Network:our homepage is at http://www.strokenetwork.org/.
Our Facebook page is at http://www.facebook.com/strokenetwork.