An act of defiance and desperation. That’s how Dave Fuehrer, co-founder and chief executive officer of GRYT Health and two-time cancer survivor, viewed his signing of the incorporation papers to officially start the company five years ago today. The fact that he did so on World Cancer Day was no coincidence. Rather, it was a bold statement about the impact he and his fellow co-founders planned to make.
“We needed to do something – anything – to support others going through cancer,” said Dave. “Even as a patient experience researcher myself, I felt unequipped to navigate the intricacies of the patient journey and treatment regimen during my two battles with testicular cancer. Starting GRYT Health was our way of doing something to help others.”
While the company’s primary mission was born out of helping those with cancer avoid isolation, the company has grown today to empower people to be in charge of their own health. Founders Kenny Kane, Brad Love and Shelley Nolden, along with Dave Fuehrer, were all deeply affected by cancer – through their own battles or by caring for loved ones with the disease.
While their connections to one another were rooted in trauma, each also sought a higher purpose for the journeys they had been through.
“During my own cancer treatment for acute myeloid leukemia (AML), I wasn’t informed of alternative treatment therapies available through a clinical trial that may have been less-toxic and more effective than my own regimen,” recalls Shelley Nolden, co-founder and chairwoman of GRYT Health. “I want patients to know their options, to be informed and empowered to make the best treatment decisions for them.”
“The idea for GRYT Health was to offer community support in the palm of your hand,” said Kenny Kane, co-founder and chief technology officer for GRYT Health. “Through our peer-to-peer matching, our algorithms connect those with similar experiences to offer support and united strength.”
More than 10,000 people have downloaded the GRYT Health app, which today is also available on a desktop platform at www.grythealth.com, creating more than 1.3 million interactions on the GRY Health platform. Additionally, the GRYT Health website offers a host of resources including articles on issues relevant to the cancer journey and is a place where community members are empowered to share their stories. Users can also access Vivibot, a mental health chatbot that listens, 24/7 on the platform.
GRYT Health today also offers a number of virtual conferences, including the cornerstone Global Virtual Cancer Conference and the COVID Advocacy Exchange, which not only help to educate attendees, but provide a platform for sharing experiences. In total, GRYT Health has hosted more than 120 virtual events in the last five years; highlighting 300 industry, patient, survivor, caregiver, researcher and providers as presenters; and uniting 11,000 people who have registered for a GRYT Health event.
“GRYT Health today has grown to offer support services through connection and education, as well as the ability for patients, survivors, and caregivers to share their experiences through one of GRYT Health’s research projects to improve healthcare,” said Brad Love, Ph.D., co-founder and chief culture officer of GRYT Health. “The real differentiator is our community. By providing access to information, real-time support and opportunities to leverage personal and collective experience, we are empowering our community members to make a significant impact on the future of healthcare.”
Currently, working in collaboration with half of the world’s top 10 pharmaceutical companies, GRYT Health also champions patient experience research and clinical trial recruiting. Through The GRYT Project, community members have the opportunity to participate in relevant, compensated research opportunities where they are able to share their experiences to improve quality of life and outcomes. Nearly 1,000 patients, survivors, and caregivers have participated in a GRYT Health research project today.
To Dave, everything comes back to the difference we can make in the individual’s life.
“When I look at the collective impact GRYT Health has made over the last five years, it is nothing short of a miracle,” Dave muses. “The moments that stand out for me are when a member of our community finds or uses their voice – or when someone offers support. I think of our team members who have been able to verbalize their internal feelings they didn’t know they had – and they didn’t realize it was OK to talk about. I think of leaders within our partner organizations who finally feel empowered share the challenges they go through and to stop hiding their patient journeys. These miracles are the core of everything we do and will always do.”
As a company founded and run by cancer survivors and caregivers, we have a relentless focus on the patient experience and work with companies who do the same. Permission, transparency, and partnership are the guiding principles in every project we do.
“As our team and impact grows, we will remain unwaveringly committed to putting the patient first,” says Shelley. “As survivors and caregivers ourselves, we understand that the patients’ wellbeing and needs are paramount. By amplifying the patient and caregiver voices through our research, empowerment, and clinical trial recruitment programs, we are contributing to a better future for our healthcare system, with greater representation and equity.”
#WorldCancerDay #PatientVoice #PatientEmpowerment #PatientEducation #PatientEngagement #CancerCommunity #CancerSupport #GRYTTurns5
In celebration of GRYT Health’s five-year anniversary, and in recognition of all we have achieved because of our community, GRYT Health is hosting a virtual birthday celebration via Zoom on February 4, 2021 at 7 pm ET. All are welcome to the free event, which will include entertainment from Aaron O’Brien, comedic magician, the premiere of the GRYT Health impact video made from community member submission, games and prizes. To learn more and join our community, visit www.grythealth.com.