Life, Interrupted. Patient, Engaged.

This is a compelling series — one that shows the power of social.

Suleika Jaouad, a 23-year-old writer from Saratoga Springs, N.Y., is sharing her experiences as a young adult with cancer on the New York Times website in words and video.

A great lesson for health care organizations is the strength that Jaouad gained from sharing her experiences and journey.

"I never felt brave enough to put myself out there. So I started a blog. All the thoughts I have been having for the past year and all of these experiences came flooding out. Up until that point I had kept my story very private. And suddenly I had this new support system that had formed out of nowhere."

Support communities once met in stark conference rooms and church basements. Now they meet in the cloud — on Twitter, Facebook, blogs, forums and private and public online "communities."

It takes strength — and vulnerability — to share. Patients go from being or feeling alone to picking up some buddies along their journey. 

When encouraged to share — and given the tools do so — the end results are engaged patients (and families) who take deliberate steps in their own care.