He saw and felt the despair of fatigued cancer patients. He wanted to give help to cancer patients all over the world on this issue.
Describe your Lovie Finalist project. What’s the elevator pitch?

"40% of all cancer patients and survivors suffer from prolonged and severe Cancer Related Fatigue (CRF). That’s millions all over the world. The impact of CRF is enormous. People impacted are so exhausted that even daily tasks like taking a shower are too much. It affects everything and can lead to social isolation and depression. Doctors don’t have a magical pill as solution. But we do have a solution. With Untire we offer an effective Digital Medicine that reduces fatigue and regains life. Winning the Lovie Award is saying: Let's beat Cancer Fatigue together!"

What inspired this particular cause as the subject of your work?

"The initiator of the Untire app, Dr. Bram Kuiper, is an experienced psycho-oncologist. For the last 30 years he has helped cancer patients and cancer survivors to deal with feelings of fear, anger and depression. He saw and felt the despair of fatigued cancer patients. He wanted to give help to cancer patients all over the world on this issue. On basis of his clinical insights and knowledge about proven methods Bram therefore started to develop a digital medicine against CRF. That resulted in the Untire app. Now all doctors and patients all over the world can be helped with CRF. Untire is unique and fulfills an unmet need."

What real-world impact were you hoping to make with this project?

"Having cancer is a burden. Being fatigued is an additional burden. Millions of cancer patients worldwide (already 16 million in Europe and the USA) suffer from their untreated fatigue. Their lives are dramatically affected. It has impact on your loved ones, work, family and friends. Untire can help millions of cancer patients to deal with their fatigue and to regain life. And medical doctors will start talking about the fatigue, because now they can prescribe our solution. Every cancer patient that suffers from fatigue is one too many."

Did your team have a specific “breakthrough” moment when conceiving or executing this project that you can share?

"The first breakthrough was the support and acknowledgement of patients and a large worldwide lymphoma patient advocacy group who used the app for the first time. By their enthusiastic and often emotional reactions we knew we had something important to be further developed. The second breakthrough was the EU Horizon 2020 subsidy. And finally, that the preliminary results show that fatigue diminishes significantly and feelings of happiness and energy improve. It all helped and helps us to continue to believe in our mission, despite setbacks and failures."

Was the tech/medium you chose essential to conveying your message? If so, why?

"We strive for a medium which has the lowest threshold. Knowing that most people own a smartphone (even the elderly) we chose a native app for both Android as well as iOS. Furthermore this tech gives us the opportunity to connect in the future with other devices like trackers of movement, sleep and supporting medicine intake."

What was the greatest challenge that arose during your work on this? What about the most rewarding moment?

"The greatest challenge was to develop an effective digital tool. We only had our conviction we could improve dramatically the quality of life of cancer patients, even if they have a bad prognosis. Initially we were content driven without any business model. Later we understood that we needed this to become a sustainable company. It took us a long time to find the right partners. Together we made something from nothing. Most rewarding: the first positive reaction from a user. Steve wrote: "This is really a very high quality cancer survivor life coaching tool. I wish I had this back in 2011. It would have made my life after cancer a lot easier."

What did you learn in the process of creating this work that you didn't know/expect going in?

"The process of bringing a hybrid idea to a concrete solution takes 3x more time and leads to 3x more expenses than expected. You need to be able to handle this and keep the good spirit. Creating a simple and easy-to-use, understandable program out of a complex problem takes a lot of creative thinking, experimenting, killing of darlings and resilience. The most important thing is to keep on believing in your mission and keep going on no matter what! That means in particular ignoring all those consultants with overwhelming spreadsheets, hesitations and disbelief."

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