So check this out, right? This incredible woman named Carolyn Treviño Jenkins, she’s a breast cancer survivor. She went through the whole process and realized how damn difficult it was to get the resources she needed to navigate the treatment and recovery. And get this, she was one of the lucky ones, man. She had the financial resources and support system to handle it. But she made a vow to herself that she would find a way to help other cancer patients access the resources they need, fast and efficient. So what does she do? She co-founded this company called We Are Here, and let me tell you, it’s changing the game when it comes to patient experience and health equity.
We Are Here, man, it’s an AI-driven platform that’s all about enhancing cancer care. It’s co-founded by cancer survivors and caregivers, and they’re on a mission, man. They got this quintuple aim, big stuff.
Let’s Talk Humble Beginnings
So back in 2018, Carolyn, she was hired as the CEO of some company, right? It was all about a strategy execution solution. She’s feeling good, things are looking up. But then bam! She gets hit with the news, breast cancer. Like, what the fuck? Talk about a curveball. So she goes to this cancer center in Texas, and they hand her this thick, generic notebook. Like, come on, man. And inside that notebook? A bunch of URLs for cancer non-profits. Supposed to help her find the resources she needs. But here’s the thing, technology could make that notebook way better, way more helpful. Carolyn’s life was already hectic, man. She’s an executive, a mom with three active kids, a wife, and a community volunteer. Adding doctor appointments and medical stuff to her plate was just too much. So she didn’t even get to explore all those damn links in the notebook. Missed out on some great resources and community support.
The Need for Technical Solutions
But Carolyn, she kept seeing this opportunity for technology to make the journey easier. ‘Cause here’s the thing, the resources she really needed? They weren’t even in that damn notebook. Her reconstruction team gave her this folder, right? Had some useful product suggestions for post-surgical bras, but it wasn’t everything she needed. But here’s where it gets real, man. A few days before her bilateral mastectomy, a nurse tells her she’s gotta put these post-surgical drains on safety pins, hang ’em on a coat hanger, and have her husband hold it up while she showers. Like, what the fuck, man? That’s assuming way too much. What if she didn’t have a husband? What if she didn’t wanna show her scars and drains to others? So she’s searching for two hours and finally finds this $12 shower belt that gives her independence and dignity. That right there was the moment she knew she had to make this journey easier for others.
The Financial Strain of Cancer
Now here comes the real kick in the nuts, right? Cancer is expensive as hell. Carolyn had the money to start her treatment, but she knows not everyone does. Cancer patients end up spending 42% of their annual income on out-of-pocket expenses. And get this, man, 74% of adults with cancer, they skip or delay their care ’cause they can’t afford it. That shit’s fucked up. People are having to choose between paying rent and getting chemo. That’s a problem that needs fixing, my friends. There’s help out there, sure. Tons of cancer non-profits, tons of shit on Amazon when you search for “cancer.” But who’s got the time to sift through all that? Not you, not the doctors trying to help you out.
The Birth of We Are Here
Fast forward to 2020, Carolyn’s cancer-free, reconstruction’s done. But her journey ain’t over, man. She’s dealing with mild lymphedema and being pushed into menopause. Like any survivor, her journey’s evolving. And she’s still committed to making it easier for others. But she knows she can’t do it alone, man. She needs a team. Lucky for her, she meets all these amazing cancer survivors, caregivers, and health change makers who want to bridge the gaps in cancer care. So boom, We Are Here is born.
The first thing they did was talk to patients, survivors, caregivers, and non-profit leaders in cancer navigation. They found some common themes, man. People were overwhelmed, struggling financially, and emotionally drained. And research shows that shit leads to worse outcomes. So they dug deeper. They found three big gaps in care.
Number one, the time between diagnosis and actually getting to see the clinical navigators. Some places, it takes weeks. Other places, it takes months. And you know what that does? It adds stress, man. Stress that affects your outcome. Number two, there’s no centralized platform for all the resources you need. You got these notebooks and spreadsheets, but they’re all focused on medical stuff. What about everyday life challenges? What about worrying about hair loss, or needing help with gas, childcare, making appointments? It’s a shit show, man. Stress goes up, and the financial impact of missing work and spending more money on things you need, it’s unsustainable. And number three, once active treatment is over, you lose access to your clinical team. But guess what? Life ain’t back to normal, man. Everything has changed. You need help and support, but you gotta start all over, find new communities. More barriers.
We Are Here’s Answer to the Gaps
So here’s what We Are Here does, alright? They got this platform ready to go from day one of diagnosis. 77% of users choose the self-guided onboarding option, available 24/7. And let me tell you, this platform is a game changer. It centralizes all the resources for the everyday life challenges caused by cancer. And they don’t just give you a generic list, man. They use their AI engine to give you specific resources based on your unique needs and challenges. On average, they save users 70 hours of time, connect ’em to $1500 in grants and discounts. And get this, 50% of users say they feel less overwhelmed after their first interaction. They’ll help you with money for rent and bills, keep the electricity on, get housekeeping while you’re going through daily radiation, and so much more. They’ve got a 100% satisfaction rating, man. Clinicians and non-profits love working with them ’cause it’s a more comprehensive, centralized hub of help.
Changing the Cancer Care Game
So you know what the cool thing is? We Are Here, they’re not just improving the patient experience. They’re not just helping the clinicians. They’re not just promoting health equity. They’re doing all of that, man. Plus, national evidence says they can reduce the cost of care and improve outcomes. And they’re not stopping there. While they keep growing, they’re here right now for anyone affected by cancer. And on a personal level, Carolyn, she tested positive for a gene associated with ovarian and breast cancer. She hopes her daughters never have to go through that shit, but if they do, she wants them to have all the benefits that We Are Here provides.