Some words to the WordPress Community

Over the last four years I’ve made many friends through our community, meeting a lot of you at WordCamps and BuddyCamps across the world. WordPress has drastically improved my life by allowing me to work from home, at my own pace and in a great ecosystem full of opportunities. WordPress allows me to do the things I’ve always loved doing; being creative, working with people, and give weight to my work through meaningful projects.

CFCommunity is the project that I’ve been wanting to do for years, and it’s the reason I discovered BuddyPress and WordPress.

At the first BuddyCamp in Vancouver

Average life expectancy for people with CF is around 40, I never realized how much everything I did was influenced by this. I badly wanted to leave my mark on everything I did. I was driven by an unhealthy fear of missing out on life.

This is something that I’ve heard from many of my friends with CF, we’re simply not allowing ourselves to plan a real future for ourselves. Often friends and family would praise me for being so driven and ambitious but I was driven by the fear that I was in the prime time of my life. By talking to others with CF I’ve learned that I was not the only one struggling with these things. The fact that people with Cystic Fibrosis are strongly discouraged to meet in person, does not make things easier.

I’m now in a position to use my geek powers to create something for everyone affected by Cystic Fibrosis, and create a place for them on the interwebs.

cfcommunity.net – An online community for those affected by Cystic Fibrosis

The idea is simple: A social network for people with CF, by people with CF. Powered by WordPress/BuddyPress and with a Multisite setup so people can create their own blogs. We can be part of a group of people that know what it’s like to have CF or be around someone who has it, without running the risk of the cross-infection.

It will not only be a place where you meet others with CF, it can also serve as the way for a younger generation to learn more about their disease through meeting kids who are in the same position. As someone who’ve had the luxury to meet others with CF in real life, I know how important this is.

Why not Facebook? I don’t think I need to answer that to the WordPress community, but even with all the evil privacy stuff set aside it’s a bad fit for our needs.

But it’s more then just a community for us; those born with CF. My parents, brothers and friends are also affected by CF. It has become part of their lives too, and I think having a place for them on CFCommunity is very important. This is why we’ve come up with several smart ways to bring community members into contact with people who are in the same situation, so they can share their stories too.

Why we need your help

It took me a long time until I was ready to reach out for others to help me with CFCommunity. The project is too important to do as a side project, and it took me a while to realise that. I had the crazy idea that a non-profit project could be developed, managed and funded by this one guy, who also happens to have CF and can’t even work full time. It’s funny how your ambitions can make you set these unrealistic goals.

Asking other people for money to fund something that is so personal almost feels wrong. CF is such a huge part of my life that it quickly becomes very personal. Through my life I’ve always tried my absolute best not to be “special”, trying not to be the sick kid that needs help. It’s something that every single person with CF can relate to – often we look healthy on the outside, making it easy for us to hide what’s within.

It took me a long time to realise that sometimes asking for help is a good thing. I’m now believe that asking for help for CFCommunity is the right path to take. Because without help, I’ll simply never be able to make it happen. And I’m extremely grateful that we’ve getting so much support from the WordPress community.

How we plan to give back to the WordPress community through this project

The long term goal is to create a “plugin suite” that serves as a great starting point for those who would like to create a social network for any health-related cause. Because of the open source nature of WordPress and the great progress BuddyPress has made over the years, I believe this could be something that the entire community can be proud of. As one of the developers of Commons in a Box I’ve seen how we can make complicated WordPress installations easy to setup and manage for a novice user by creating a plugin suite that runs you through the entire process. It’s my goal to make this a possibility for health related causes in the future.

Short term we’ll share our theme, custom plugins and development process with the community.

Answering some additional questions

Because we don’t want to turn this post to into a novel, we’ve published a lot of additional information about the project on our website. It will give you a detailed rundown of how your donation will be used, how the project timeline looks and why Facebook sucks so bad. Visit the FAQ page or click on one of the questions below to learn more!

Want to help? Pick a perk, make a donation and lets reach our funding goal!

We hope that through telling our story we can get your support. Even if it’s through a small donation or spreading the word! If you decide to donate you will not only be added to our Community Hall of Fame, you can also claim one of the many perks we’re giving away. Take a look at the perks listed, and in case you’re all settled on the WordPress end of things, our IndieGogo page has a bunch of other perks available!

Thank you so much,
Bowe & Sarah


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