I must just mention one other charity called Bens Friends, which does stirling work as an international network of online communities that provide support for people struggling with rare diseases.
Ben's Friends has 12,600 members globally – more than 38 million people are affected by a rare illness (3.5 million in the UK alone) – and the mission of Ben's Friends is to ensure everyone with a rare disease has a safe place to go everyday and connect with people like them. As we know, communicating with someone who is experiencing the same illness or condition as you are can be very comforting.
Ben's Friends was founded in 2006 by Ben Munoz – hence "Ben's Friends" – who suffered from a rare condition called an AVM and realised that a support network would be extremely beneficial.
Like Poems in the Waiting Room, Bensfriends.org runs on a shoe-string budget and is fully supported by donors, sponsors, and advertisers. An army of volunteers helps out, no one is paid a salary, and all donations go directly to funding the networks.
These are two charities amongst many, but each provides, in its different way, a very special service of comfort and support – and should be better known.
It is Christmas Eve tomorrow, so I would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a peaceful 2012 – and thank you for supporting my blog