Closing the books on WellCommons 2010
- on December 22, 2010
It's not quite the end of the year, but we're close. And with the calendar about to turn from 2010 to 2011, it's as good a time as any to look back at this, our first year, at WellCommons.
It's become a tradition at our other sites to do an annual look back at the top stories you clicked on during the year. So, with WellCommons about to turn one year old (we had our unofficial beta launch in March, and our official beta launch in April) we pulled together the top stories of 2010 for you to look at.
But before we do that, let's take a look at some other numbers. When 2010 dawned, WellCommons was just a series of sketches and plans in the heads of some staff here at the World Company and of our advisory board. In that time we've:
• Seen more than 700 different people post a comment, write a post or upload and share a photo. WellCommons is built on its community. Without all of your contributions, we wouldn't have nearly the vibrant site that we do. If you're just a lurker, however, make it a New Year's resolution to become an active participant in our site.
• Had more than 300 users fill out a profile. Among those 300, many have uploaded a photo. If you haven't taken the time to fill out your profile and upload a photo, take a minute and do that now. Everyone likes to know who they're talking to, and this is a good first step in doing that in our virtual world.
• Had more than 78,000 absolute unique visitors, according to Google Analytics. This doesn't exactly relate to the number of different people who visited WellCommons, but it does show that thousands of people have passed by or regularly visit our community.
So, with those quick figures out of the way, here's out top 10, most-clicked stories of 2010.
Earlier in the year, we introduced you to April Schmidt and Jerry Hunt and their seven kids. For months they'd been living in a motel. Just before Halloween, we were able to bring you the good news that the family had moved out of the motel and into a home, thanks to people who learned about their plight on WellCommons and took action to help.
This summer, several entrepreneurs brought to Lawrence programs designed to give individuals incentives to lose weight. And not those tried-and-true incentives like looking better and feeling better, we're talking about cold hard cash. So Karrey took a look at the programs, the successes, the failures and turning to the experts to find out whether they could work. The verdict? Maybe. What matter most is whether you, as a person, want to make the changes you need to make to be successful.
Despite the numerous efforts to bring more local food to our area, one of our local dairies came within a whisker of shutting down this year. But, in August, the dairy announced that its customers had come through and purchased more than $215,000 in memberships — at a rate of $500 per customer. The farm needed the money for better equipment and to reduce debt.
Sara Schmanke has Huntington’s disease. It’s a disorder passed down through families in which certain nerve cells in the brain waste away or degenerate. It commonly affects muscle coordination and cognitive functions. Despite all the challenges, Schmanke and her husband Dean have maintained their love and their faith.
Lawrence ratcheted up the creepy crawly factor this year when, as in many other places across the country, bed bugs moved in. They're tough to find and even tougher to kill, but some experts weighed in with their ideas for how to keep the blood-sucking buggers at bay.
Kim Banning-Bohmann's body is hardening from her toes to her jaw. The skin on her arms feels like a plastic doll’s arm. After months of testing, she was finally diagnosed with scleroderma. Despite the life-threatening disease, which had led her to multiple doctors and hospitals, she's maintaining hope.
This was your introduction to the family of April Schmidt and Jerry Hunt. Seven kids, five of them living with their parents in a local motel. Both work, but a confluence of hard luck circumstances found them with no choice but to live in the motel room. But after living in the motel for nearly six months, they would move into an apartment.
Dr. Rod Barnes has spent years helping others get healthy. In April, he let it be known that he needed others' help to get himself healthy. The doctor needed a bone marrow transplant, because of his leukemia, a disease he'd battled for five years. Lawrence Memorial Hospital held a community bone marrow registration drive in order to improve Dr. Barnes' odds of finding a match, as well as to help others who in the future may need their own transplant.
Suicide is a difficult topic for many to talk about. In the media, we often do a terrible job of reporting on and helping people understand why people attempt or commit suicide. But in November, a national event for survivors of suicide was held in downtown Lawrence. Anita Burkhalter told the story of finding her husband dead on their back deck. Nine years before his death, he was injured by a student. The injury caused major damage to Phillip’s back that left him in chronic pain. Anita believes he suffered depression because of the pain.
Far and away, the most clicked on story of the year was Karrey's story about Willow Domestic Violence Center's new calendar, featuring influential and well-known Lawrence men sporting red high heels. From KU basketball coach Bill Self to fire chief Mark Bradford to former KU basketball star Scot Pollard, the pictures in the calendar are hilarious. And it was a viral hit on Facebook, on Twitter, and on news sites all over the state. But no one else had the pictures. And this story not only did exceptionally well for us, it also generated many sales for Willow. And that's what matters here at WellCommons. We want our stories to make a difference. I'd like to think all of the stories above made a difference in someone's life. But with this one, I know Karrey's story made it just a little easier for Willow to carry out its important mission.