Superhero Development Team Creates an App for Teens Battling Cancer

Approximately 2,000 teens battled cancer between 2006 and 2008. What could a group of teens this large have in common? According to eyeforpharma, the answer is an overwhelming feeling of loneliness, fear, and isolation.

With the goal of making sure that, in a market that has an app for just about everything, there is an app made specifically to address these unmet needs, eyeforpharma and its partner organizations, such as The Teenage Cancer Trust, European Cancer Patient Coalition, and the I’m Too Young For This! Cancer Foundation, created the Mobile Health Competition 2012. The competition took this problem to the online community, where it asked for ideas about how to best address it.

Marianne Lynch, Dimuthu Jayawardana, and Faisal Ahmed submitted the winning response to this prompt, with an app called Superhero Me!, which aims to let these patients continue to be teenagers first and foremost. Superhero Me! has an assortment of features that are intended to help teenagers through the difficult treatment process and entertain them while they’re removed from their typical, everyday lives.

One major issue that the developers sought to address was the short-term memory issues that are often associated with cancer treatment. With the diary, journal, and note features, Superhero Me! allows users to set phone reminders and capture their memories during this difficult time.

Targeted at the issues of loneliness, fear, and isolation that teenage cancer patients have consistently reported, the application also has a “Superhero Friend Finder.” This function is designed to help teenage cancer patients connect with other individuals who are going through similar experiences. Once teens have connected with other “superheros,” they can spend time playing chess, scrabble, and other workd games with them online, no matter where they live.

In addition to connecting patients to other teens, the app also focuses on removing some of the fear associated with the unknown. With the application’s instant messaging feature and forums, patients will be able to find answers to all of their questions.

To tie all of these great features together and entice patients to use it, the application has a competitive side. The more that the teens use the app, the more “Superpowers” they gain, which can give them an advantage when competing on games.

Superhero Me! is currently in the developmental phase, but the team has already made an impact on fighting cancer. For its winning submission, the Superhero Me! team was awarded $5,000, which the group donated to Cancer Research UK to promote further work towards curing cancer.

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