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Ed Mitchell knew that in the next 10 days, he needed to take his wife, who has Alzheimer’s disease, to music therapy, take his aging father to get a pedicure and take his grown son for kidney dialysis. He also needed to get to the grocery store, stop by the pharmacy, meet with the hospice nurse about his mother and attend a meeting in downtown Phoenix early one morning.

He would need help.

So the 63-year-old retired pastor unclipped his smartphone from the black leather case on his belt and sent a group text message to family and friends — eight in all — asking whether they could pitch in.

Almost instantly, his phone buzzed in response: His daughter could come by after work. Someone from church had time on Tuesday. His wife’s longtime friend was open Wednesday.

USA Today |