In his latest blog for World Cancer Research Fund, the Co-Founder of WarOnCancer, Fabian Bolin, shares his latest venture – a free social networking app for everyone affected by cancer.
My name is Fabian Bolin. I am a cancer patient myself, currently in remission for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia following 900 days of chemotherapy. Through the process, I learned to love myself. I also found my life’s mission: to solve the mental health problems of everyone affected by cancer.
The journey of WarOnCancer began on 2 July 2015 when I was diagnosed with leukaemia and shared my story in a blog. The first post was shared almost 13,000 times on social media, which has led to over 100,000 messages, e-mails and letters of support to date. Sharing my story gave me a higher sense of purpose and meaning than I have ever felt before in my life. It also made me realise the true power of storytelling. This gave birth to the idea of WarOnCancer.
To us, the missing element in most solutions addressing mental health for those affected by cancer is self-worth. Most initiatives and health platforms today are targeted around patient empowerment, the idea that by becoming a more informed patient and by taking a more active role, I will feel better on a mental level. However, my biggest wish when I was going through my cancer treatment was to feel and be treated like a human being. And we know that many affected feel the same way. Because everything becomes weird around you when you have cancer. Friends stop calling you, or they call you way too much. Random people appear out of nowhere with advice on essential oils and other alternative “cures” for cancer. Healthcare professionals barely have time to speak to you.
And then there’s the stigma and fear of cancer, inherent in society. Partly as a result of the way cancer is being marketed today. These things, combined with not being able to work during a long period of time, or fulfil your role as a parent, lead to an inevitable eradication of self-worth. I believe the secret to solving the mental health problem lies in the domain of self-worth. We have to make people feel like humans again.
So we decided to develop an app that would work for those affected by cancer. We’ve just launched the WarOnCancer app, it’s a social networking app for patients, survivors and loved ones – a niche community for cancer. The vision is to unite people affected by cancer on a global level through storytelling and content creation as a driver of engagement.
If you have been affected by cancer in any capacity, then please join us. It would be an honour to have you on board to help build this community with us. We are making improvements on a daily basis to the app but that’s why we need people to get involved now. Your thoughts and feedback are essential at this stage so that we can develop the app to best support the needs of real people affected.
- The app is currently only available on Apple devices, but we're working on expanding the range soon.