I Had Cancer was founded by Mailet Lopez who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008 at the age of 33. Like anyone else, she turned to the web for answers only to find a jungle of fragmented information. Mailet was fortunate to have the love and support of her family and friends but what she really needed was to speak to someone who had fought the fight. It was shear luck that Mailet bumped into a woman her same age who was just finishing up treatments for the same type of breast cancer she was diagnosed with. And it was this connection that provided Mailet with valuable information and advice about alternative options that would prepare her for the journey she was about to face.
Armed with a new sense of gratitude, Mailet started to imagine a mechanism that could help others find guidance by connecting people based on experiences. As co-founder of Squeaky Wheel Media (an award-winning interactive agency in NYC) she was able to leverage her agency’s strengths and bring her idea to life in the hopes of changing the way people handle a cancer diagnosis. After a year of intense planning, designing and development, Squeaky Wheel has unveiled IHadCancer.com. A platform which uses the power of social media networking to share information on very specific cancer experiences with users who are thirsty for that human connection.
Members register as either fighters, survivors or supporters (care -givers), then create profiles and share as much or as little as they wish and we encourage them to connect with one another. The powerful social engine on the site helps users browse the community based on very specific criteria including cancer type, age, gender, geography, year of diagnosis and user type. One a member accepts an invitation to connect, they are given access to everything they wish to share within their circle (from treatment and resources to journal entries and photos about their experience).
I Had Cancer.com also built a beautiful and easy to use discussion forum giving members the ability to initiate and participate in group discussions ask and answer questions posed at the entire community. Categories are broken down according to type of cancer as well as general lifestyle interests.
The team at Squeaky Wheel also introduced a clever way for people to address cancer directly. In the Dear Cancer section, members can send a message to cancer telling it exactly how they feel. We are excited at how popular this section has become and feel that it provides our members with a useful portal from which they can vent their anger, release frustration and even give thanks.
By harnessing the power of social media IHadCancer.com hopes to encourage the cancer community to register and share their experiences because everyone who was touched by cancer has a story, and I Had Cancer.com is where they come to share it.
Maya S. Landesberg
I Had Cancer