The year was 2003 that Skype was founded. A year before we had Facebook, and three years before we heard of a Tweet. Even before Skype we had a variety of social type networks that were starting to bring the world so close together. An early one known to many of us who have dealt with cancer and other horrid diseases was one called Caring Bridge. All of these social networks are changing the world in so many ways, and many already did!
I first saw this ad when Scott Monty and Laura Fitton shared this AdAge article about the ad making you cry at work. I love when advertising shows the real impact a product is having on someone's life, and this ad was so true to that. So 2003 was a powerful year for Skype, but it was also a life changing year for me. Our daughter Gianna was born premature in 2000. She spent the first 3 months of her life in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Shortly after her birth she was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis, a genetic disorder that creates sticky mucous in your lungs, and in your digestive system. Through both of those life events we turned to the internet to learn from others who have dealt with such things. While she was in the hospital we even created a website to allow others to follow her progress. Over the next few years her health was great, you would never know anything was wrong, but in 2003 as we changed doctors, a routine test showed she had a mass on her liver. It was diagnosed as Hepatoblastoma, a childhood liver cancer. We were now embarking on unknown territory, starting chemotherapy and a scary future.
As we started to discuss this online we met many new friends, especially the Lloyd family from England. There son just finished treatments and was cancer free. During the next year they would help us through every aspect of the treatments. Sometimes they were just a virtual shoulder to cry on, sometimes someone to make us laugh, or just to listen. People we never met yet we would be so close to. We would connect many times through email, online, and yes they were the first people we ever Skyped. These were individuals we never met, but we shared a common bond that thankful very few have to deal with. We will be forever grateful for their support. In 2004 Gia passed away during a liver transplant surgery. Shortly after her passing we visited the Lloyd family to thank them for all the support. Since that time we have visited each other a few times but we still remain connected via Skype, email and other social media. I love seeing their son continue to grow and become the nice young man he is.
We are in a new very connected world. I have posted numerous times how this is changing the business world, but more importantly it is changing our personal lives in ways we still can't fully understand. Skype has always been there for us in this process of connecting the world. As you can imagine this ad hit home for me on so many levels, but the reality is that Skype was already doing that without the ad. I am sure you know many people who have been impacted in a positive way in this connected world. If you could, please pay tribute to them in the comments below.
Thank you to the Lloyd Family, Skype and Caring Bridge as well as the thousands of people who have helped us over the years. You will always be in our hearts.