I am completely and utterly amazed, that having gone through all that I have in the last few years, I am still alive and being able to do some incredible things! Never knowing what the next call or email might bring. There are so many requests now, that I have to refuse many, ensuring that I have time and energy for those that will make an immediate difference to the people I meet. It is also incredible how many asks I get from abroad. Of course the issues around cancer are the same everywhere, but social media has helped us communicate and share with others that have similar problems to our own.
My great interest is in people working differently, with innovative ideas. Being a businessman myself I was always seeking new ways to market, and solving old problems in a unique way. The cancer support world hasn’t really improved much considering the progress made in technology. The Internet has allowed like minds to connect and give the large healthcare organisations a reminder that we need things to be done in a timely fashion. I am delighted to promote these organisations and collaborate where possible.
A few weeks ago I was contacted by the below ladies from Paris, who want to share my work in France, Germany, and Italy. Like many people, their own experiences have brought them into fill some of the many gaps in cancer care. We can all do certain things well but not all, so it is very helpful to share skills and experiences. I would like to thank Cindy and Marine for contacting me, and allowing me to share their own special story.
‘In 2005, Cindy Bringuier and received the terrible news that their Mother had just been diagnosed with Breast Cancer. Shortly after beginning chemotherapy and radiotherapy, they watched helplessly as she started experiencing the first side effects of her treatments. The need to do something took over and they started searching for ways to help by trying to find the right cosmetics, relieving the tension through laughter during hairdressers’ appointments and trying to find old remedies to relieve the pain. They just wanted to live as many happy moments with their Mother to help keep her spirits high. The journey wasn’t an easy one, and they realised that people did not know much about the disease. One of the big shocks came when their Mother’s beauty therapist refused to touch her, thinking that she would get cancer herself…
During this difficult time, they started actively searching for products and most of all, advice to help someone live better despite their cancer treatments. It was not easy to find the right information, but as time went by their list started doing the rounds and people added their own advice based on experiences. After losing their Mother to the illness, they both realised that they could do something to help those in the same situation, they couldn’t just sit back and watch. Having worked for large cosmetics, fashion and communication companies, the big moment came in 2011 when they decided to drop everything. They combined their experiences and launched Oncovia: an online store dedicated to helping cancer patients live better with their illness. Both under the age of 30, the challenge was huge but the need to help and do something worthwhile was stronger.
When someone is diagnosed with cancer, their quality of life and that of their close ones is disrupted and a number of existential and practical questions are asked, any questions that are left unanswered are a source of uncertainty and stress. It is for this reason that Oncovia strongly believes that everyone should have easy access to information about their illness and products to help them live better despite their cancer.
Oncovia made it their mission to improve the self-image of patients and give back confidence through:
• Cancer advice about the different types of cancers, treatments and the possible sideeffects, preparing for chemo, cancer news… • Testimonies from other cancer patients, families, charities…
• Video tutorials to help patients apply makeup after losing their eyelashes and eyebrows, tying headscarves, looking after wigs… • A large selection of adapted products to ease the side effects of treatments.
Oncovia is actively working towards uniting a community of people who are working to ensure the overall well-being of cancer patients. Carefully selected by cancer experts and professionals, all products are safe, efficient and ideal for sensitive/reactive skin: Bamboo chemo headwear, cotton mastectomy bras, perfume-free moisturisers, serums during lash regrowth, organic make-up or nail polish with silica and UV filters… The website provides access to important information and products from the comfort of your home, one of the major difficulties encountered by Cindy and Marine during their Mother’s illness. They sometimes had to travel up to 1 or 2 hours to find the right product. Oncovia breaks down the barriers and helps make life easier during this tough time.’
Originating from France, 2017 has been a big year for the Sisters with Oncovia increasing their reach internationally in the United Kingdom, Germany and Italy! Find out more about Oncovia on their website, blog and Oncovia Cancer Advice. Or follow them on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram
I am delighted to share all innovative cancer work so please get in touch if you know anyone who might like a shoutout!
I am an official support partner of the Grove Hotel in Bournemouth. The only hotel in the UK specifically for people affected by cancer and other life limiting conditions.