LeanOnUs provides a platform for individuals to share their personal experiences, causes or products. Our goals include providing encouragement and information as well as raising awareness of health, safety and social issues. We also offer various support services through our members.
Our mission is to reach out to others by sharing personal life experiences, support services and educational resources.
Our goals include:
To provide a safe haven in a non-judgemental environment.
To raise awareness of important issues and to provide helpful information and personal experiences.
To act as a conduit for connecting with those who can provide further help and support.
To let everyone know “You are not alone!”
To convey, as well as promote, understanding and care.
CEO and Co-Founder - May 2011 to Present
Sonya Palasiuk embraces the power and positive aspect the interweb (internet) provides and loves using her creative abilities in all parts of her life. She also has a cat called Suzie Trouble!
From a young age, Sonya has always been conscious of other people’s feelings and an observer of how others treat and speak to one another. Her life experiences greatly influence the direction of LeanOnUs projects and her passion to reach out to others.
Co-Founder – May 2011 to August 2011
Daniel Stoneberger loves gaming, drawing and making new friends as well as spending time with his children.
He provided the inspiration and actively encouraged Sonya in her dream of building an online community to help others. Daniel worked closely with Sonya, in the first few weeks, creating the skeleton of LeanOnUs so that it could evolve over time. Daniel has now moved onto other projects.
Executive Officer - August 2011 to August 2012
Shauna Woods is a mom of two beautiful daughters and a grandmother. She loves crafting jewellery and spending time with her two furry friends - a Chihuahua and a Terrier Chihuahua Mix.
She has always had an awareness of others feelings and difficulties in life and when she joined Sonya to continue to develop the community she fell right into her position. Shauna has grown from the early days of LeanOnUs, into B2H and then moved on to other projects where she continues to help and support others.
Patron - Providing Support since January 2012
Lord Ian Broughall loves adventure having worked and lived in China, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Finland, Germany, USA, Australia, Dubai, New Zealand…! He also enjoys capturing life with his photography.
As a youngster leaving home at 13 and joining the Junior Leaders Army Regiment, a cancer survivor of over 30 years and diagnosed with MS in 2006, Ian is passionate about raising awareness and supporting others. For many years, he has been encouraging young men (18 to 30) to “Check your balls!”, has produced several campaign videos and arranged events at CUFC in aid of cancer research.
Patron - January 2012 to November 2020
Peggy Abner loved and felt at peace with the mountains. She loved spending time with her fur babies – a cat, an Australian Shepherd and a Yorkie. She also loved painting on canvases.
She was a professional photographer and a Lupus Warrior. Peggy raised awareness and supported others, having personally experienced a heart attack at 38, acute renal failure at 41, seizures at 42, recovering from several mini-strokes as well as facing surgery for a cancerous tumour - all by the age of 44. Diagnosed with Lupus, RA, Osteoarthritis, Fibromyalgia, Sjogren’s, Raynaud's, MCTD to name but a few, Peggy was one of 3 adminis for C-50 National Pain Advocacy. (See Living with Lupus.)
Patron - Providing Support since July 2012
Bob Brotchie enjoys taking walks in the beautiful countryside with Arthur, his rescue Lurcher. He loves photography, going to the gym and other outdoor activities.
As the creator of ICE (In Case of Emergency) and serving the best part of two decades in emergency services, Bob has a great understanding of people and uses his natural skills in showing great empathy and compassion in his work as a therapist and counsellor. He also has a passion for innovative ideas and helping those starting up new projects.
Patron - Providing Support since May 2013
Stephen Hadley enjoys fishing and listening to music. He also enjoys spending time with his Staffordshire Bull Terrier and a Welsh Collie (pup).
As a mechanical engineer of 20 years, he added to his career and specialised in gas safety. Steve is passionate about raising awareness of carbon monoxide poisoning and provides specialist advice to several organisations throughout Europe and has played an integral part in implementing changes to gas safety. “A clever person solves a problem. A wise person avoids it.” - Albert Einstein
Sonya's Story: The Beginnings of LeanOnUs
Well, just over 3 years ago my son got me into online gaming and I met a lot of different people. Some nice, some not so nice. Anyway, I found it really interesting meeting all ages, from youngsters to grandparents. Then it hit me how many people just want a listening ear and someone to show an interest in them. I’m not sure how perfectly I fit into the ‘listening ear’ and ‘showing an interest in people’ category but I try.
Anyway, even after 3 years I am still in touch with some of my original friends. Some are lovely, some are crazy and some are completely nuts but here we are… still laughing, crying and sometimes just chilling and spending time together. Some I have stuck by and given my heart and soul to (not sure why, but there you go, we are who we are ’n’ all that!). Same as in the real world, I guess. BUT, then again, we ARE real people; with the same highs and lows in life, the only difference being that we can hide behind our keyboards on a bad hair day in our pj’s!
So… why am I here?
Well, one day I met someone. Just by chance, and I thought… wow, this person is nice. Then again, being a ‘hopeful, looking for the best in others’ kind of person I kept telling myself to “get a grip, no one is perfect“. But after many, many hours of chatting, listening to music and watching videos together I got to know my new friend. I realised that there was someone, who despite the up’s and down’s in life, had a great sense of humor and was kind and smart.
So, in answer to the question ’Why am I here?’ … I have been inspired. I had talked for years about having my own website but never received the inspiration to make it happen and Dan gave me that push and belief in myself and that anything is possible. Unfortunately, Daniel has moved on to other things but if it wasn’t for his belief in me then I would never have started LeanOnUs. Shauna then joined in to help me out and if it wasn’t for her I would have likely given up so a big thank you goes to Shauna for her encouragement in the first year. Shauna has now moved on to other things but is still a good friend and is always there if I need any help or advice.
My hope, is that in me sharing my thoughts with you, that it will encourage you not to give up on what you want to achieve. I want you to experience a safe haven here with the opportunity for you to make friends and connections or just enjoy reading the information and experiences from others. We all need someone to lean on from time to time; to listen to us, to give us support and show some compassion and kindness when we are having a tough time of it. Just knowing that someone understands us can make a huge difference to how we feel.
Special thanks to Shauna, a good friend since before the launch of LOU, who helped LeanOnUs reach its 1st anniversary. Shauna has now moved on to other projects and we shall be eternally grateful to her for her invaluable support!
Shauna's Story: Alright, how did I get involved?
Well, back over 5 years ago I was playing a game online and I met Sonya. We hit it off and exchanged Yahoo! addresses. After that we chatted daily, sometimes for hours on end. I found her to be a very special person and at the time I was newly separated from my now ex-husband. I really needed a friend to talk to that I could fully trust and I found that in Sonya. Anyway, we had this great friendship going and one day she tells me she met Daniel who she characterized as a really nice, caring person. They had a friendship that inspired the beginning of LeanOnUs.
As time went on I saw Sonya struggling and not getting the help she needed but I stayed out of it; offered to help in any way she needed… she really didn’t accept the help and I didn’t push. Then one day she tells me she is ready to ‘throw in the towel’ as they say. She couldn’t do all the work herself and needed help. I told her there is no way she is going to throw away the money spent and the effort made to this point on her dream of this website to help others… so here I am in the fat middle of LeanOnUs and loving it.
There has been a ton of work to be done and obviously long hours as she lives in the UK and I live in the USA (an 8 hour time difference). Talking over Yahoo!… man, can that be challenging! Honestly, I had no idea how to do anything on a website so we have had some ups and downs and some very confusing times. But we are learning together and that makes our friendship stronger.
LeanOnUs is a dream, developed by Sonya and Daniel, that I fully understand and appreciate. Helping others is kind of what I do, but until now, it was just on a smaller scale. So that’s how I got here!
I have struggled with severe depression and mood issues my entire life and when I was trying to get help I found forums and chat rooms that really helped me and gave me the information I needed. I am hoping that LeanOnUs can help other’s in the same way; paying it forward in a sense!
We are just people who care and want to lend a hand for those daily challenges that we all deal with.