While attending the first annual Society of Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology (SAYAO) conference, one thing became abundantly clear: technology is going to greatly influence the future of the adolescent and young adult (AYA) oncology movement. SAYAO held their first annual conference at the University of California, Irvine (UC Irvine), in partnership with the Hyundai Cancer Institute at the Children's Hospital of Orange County (CHOC Children's) in October of 2013. The conference was designed to discuss the unique needs of this patient population and brought health professionals together not only to educate each other about what is currently taking place to meet these patients' needs, but also to collaborate on what needs to be done moving forward. Some of the innovative work presented at the SAYAO conference was that of Roger Holzberg founder of My Bridge 4 Life and Dr. Leonard Sender, founder of SAYAO and SeventyK.
Dr. Leonard Sender is currently the director of the Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Cancer Programs in the Hyundai Cancer Institute at Children's Hospital of Orange County (CHOC Children's) and in the Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center at UC Irvine Health Center. His contributions to the field of adolescent and young adult oncology were highlighted in part one and two of this series. SeventyK is a non-profit medical charity that he created to change the course of AYA cancer by educating people and healthcare providers about the unique needs of AYAs and treatment.
Roger Holzberg, a nine-year survivor, is an award-winning innovator who left his career at Disney, where he served as a creative director/vice president at Walt Disney Imagineering, to specialize in new technology channels for the delivery of health and wellness initiatives. He founded My Bridge 4 Life, a company that creates "world-class products utilizing emerging technology channels to redefine health and wellness opportunities in our world." It serves to not only help empower both patients and caregivers to manage their health and wellness, but to also transform the way that organizations can reach and engage their consumers.
My Bridge 4 Life developed, in collaboration with Dr. Sender, a program called the Infusionarium in the Hyundai Cancer Institute at CHOC Children's. This modern treatment space consisting of a fully-immersive media experience ultimately provides AYA patients with the ability to connect as a community, to be empowered by creative technologies, and to help reduce their sense of isolation while undergoing treatment. It is a place that can be personalized and customized by the AYA cancer patient to provide the optimum healing experience. Patients self-select their preferred healing environment by choosing the place, or interactive activity (from apps, to films, to games, to music creation) they would like displayed on encircling screens. The experience serves to empower, engage and distract patients from the chemotherapy infusions that they are receiving as part of their cancer care. For a more detailed description of the Infusionarium please click here.
At the SAYAO annual meeting, My Bridge 4 Life and SeventyK announced the launch of a new collaborative program of education and support services. The partnership created an AYA Cancer Survival Guide Video and eBook that is unique for AYA patients, caregivers and healthcare providers. The wellness network provides the tools that people need to become completely engaged with their cancer process or journey, offering advice for each step along the way from diagnosis to fertility preservation and from treatment to healing and well-being. To learn more about the e-book and the services available, visit here. (Be sure to enter the discount code SeventyK to receive the AYA Survival Guide Video and eBook.)