What friends do

Dateline: Tue 18 Sep 2007

Former neighbor Fran Kandrac, who now lives in Carmel, contacted this blog recently about a wonderful internet service, WhatFriendsDo.com.

The site was created by Fran and her daughters Stephanie and Aimee on behalf of a young woman, Laura Crawley, who, sadly, died of brain cancer in 2006. Laura and Stephanie became fast friends in kindergarten when both lived in the Meridian-Kessler neighborhood. Their relationship grew over the years, with shared vacations and a closeness between the Kandrac and Crawley families.

When Laura became sick and had to be hospitalized, the Kandrac women conceived of the site as a way to gather other friends of Laura's in an effort to provide whatever help was needed -- as simple as raising funds to purchase a small but necessary item to providing a group of carolers at Christmastime as well as "the 12 days of Christmas" gifts left at Laura's doorstep to ward off holiday blues.

The story of this blog and its outreach to others was featured in the Star on Sunday, Sept. 9; tech/biz columnist Erika D. Smith wrote about it, "Social network for circle of friends rises in Circle City."

Here is the link:

http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070909/COLUMNISTS23/709090342/1110/COLUMNISTS23

Fran contacted me last week and asked if I'd share the information here. I am glad to, seeing as how all of us can utilize this service. The website is free and it has a lot of neat ideas for ways to help friends, reach out to others, etc. A few years ago, a dear friend, Linda Smith, died of cancer; her circle of friends utilized our resources in the old-fashioned way, talking on the phone to set up times when food, trips to the doctor, etc., were needed. In fact, Linda herself orchestrated much of the comings and goings. How much easier it could have been, if we'd had the service Fran and her daughters have provided.

Here's an excerpt from what Erika wrote:

"It's a 'social network with a purpose,' said Fran Kandrac, who operates the Web site with her daughters, Aimee Kandrac, 29, and Stephanie Kandrac, 27.

"Everybody says: 'What can I do?' 'How can I help?' " Aimee said.

" 'Everybody wants to do something,' " Fran said, 'but they don't know what to do, so they back away. And that's sad.'"

"The circumstances for using WhatFriendsDo.com don't have to be dire. It can just as easily help organize a packing party for a friend who is moving across the country.

"So far, the social network has about 150 users. It went live in June, but Fran hasn't promoted it until now. The plan is to make money from advertisers. The Kandracs got this far with funding from two angel investors.

"As a social networking addict, I can see why someone would want to invest in WhatFriendsDo.com. The concept is awesome."

Thanks to Fran and her daughters for creating this in memory of Laura and to Erika for covering it in the Star.

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