My 10 Year Pancreas Transplant Anniversary: A Thank You Letter to the Family who Decided to Offer Their Daughter’s Pancreas

Jan 2, 2010 was the day of my pancreas transplant. This means I have been insulin independent again for exactly 10 years since my T1D diagnosis at age 16.
No words can fully describe how this gift changed my life for the better and how much the experience taught me about the reality of living with T1D. In fact, much of the foundation of Lyfebulb came from these insights: patients need patients and patients can be innovators. Two very important concepts that I only understood after my pancreas transplant.

I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in July of 1989, and the disease had never fully become a part of me. I hated it from the beginning, and never worked to embrace it. However, I did work hard to study the disease, both as a student of medicine and science as well as a businesswoman later on in my career. I wanted so desperately to get rid of it and I also refused to let it limit me. But it did. I realized how much I was truly burdened by this chronic disease once I was free from having to constantly think about my blood sugar and insulin dosing.

Diabetes took something from me that I never got back, even after regaining insulin independence through transplantation, which was my innocence and belief in happy endings. However, it taught me that fighting would forever be an essential part of my new reality and that being different was always my destiny.

Ten years ago on that morning in January, when I was on the table waiting to be put under and cut open, I had no memory of what life looked like without T1D. Almost 12 hours later, I woke up in great pain but, for the first time in quite a while, was already producing my own insulin that started to heal my failing body.

When I was discharged from the hospital, thus began my road to recovery. I had already been through one transplant nine months prior (a kidney from my father), so I was put on the same drugs, and was in better shape than I was before my first transplant. Only 10 days before my pancreas transplant, I had passed out and hit my forehead on the dishwasher corner, which led to a broken nose, cracked open forehead, and the loss of a couple of teeth. This accident was due to my T1D, so the transplant was extremely urgent. Although my face was still bruised from the accident, I was ready to fight for my new life during this period of recovery and each day, I got a little better.

The first few days after the surgery, I was weak, but I made a point out of walking a little each day and making careful food choices to gain strength. I had learned from my kidney transplant that there were certain foods that were better with the immune suppressants. These particular foods helped my stomach to handle the heavy drugs so I had a lot of toast, bananas and soup. I needed gentle and mild sustenance so I avoided spice and anything raw or fibrous. Interestingly, my diet has not changed much since my time with T1D. I still cannot eat foods like pizza, pancakes, pasta or rice. Although I’ve slowly added sweet potatoes and some bread to my diet, the psychology of living a low-carb life does not pass easily!

After a week, I could leave the hospital and after two weeks, I was cleared to fly back home to New York from Minnesota where I had my surgery. I remember it being such a happy trip back, with a newly felt freedom where I had no need for insulin or glucose testing. I felt like my life was starting again!

Only one week later back in New York, I started to feel tired and very weak. Something was clearly not right, and I went to the hospital late at night after speaking to my physician. Sadly, I had an infection and was readmitted to the hospital. I was now at Columbia Presbyterian, since that is where my local transplant care is based. It took another week before they isolated the cause for my infection. It was an abscess close to the pancreas, which needed to be drained and cleaned. To do so, I had a tube inserted into my abdomen and a bag hanging from it, which collected the nasty bacterial fluid 24/7. This went on for an entire month and it came with a period of intense pain. Every time I spoke, moved or coughed, it hurt. Laughing was impossible! After the tube was removed, marking the end to this difficult time, I was on the mend and my journey toward health was back on track.

Today, 10 years after that incredible day, I think back to the family whose young daughter died and the decision they made to donate her organs, which changed my life (and most likely many others’). I cannot imagine how they must have felt that day, but since I now have a little daughter of my own, I understand the emotions that come from seeing your child in pain.

To this family: I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I promise you to take very good care of your daughter’s pancreas, to do as much GOOD with my life as possible and to never, ever take anything for granted. I learned too early that life is a constant fight, and I know too intimately the fear that comes when you are close to losing it. If the kidney transplant saved my life, the pancreas from your daughter made it worth living again.

Somewhat symbolically, today is also the day for Lyfebulb, the company I co-founded five years ago, to enter into the transplant space. We are already in six other disease areas; Diabetes, Cancer, MS, IBD, Mental illness and Migraine. We will be building a community online and in-person for people living with transplants and their care partners. We will be searching for the best new, innovative solutions to improve quality of life by listening to people who have been through the process of a transplant. I am proud to make this announcement since it is a population that, so far, has not had a real home and where innovation is far from fully exhausted.

Happy New Year AND New Decade!

Helsinn and Lyfebulb Announce Third Annual Patient-Driven Innovation Summit & Award in Oncology to be held during the 14th Monaco Biennale of Oncology 2020

The Award recognizes Patient Entrepreneurs demonstrating outstanding innovations which advance solutions in the prevention, management or care of cancer

Lyfebulb-Helsinn Award 2020

MONACO, PRINCIPALITY OF MONACO, AND NEW YORK, NY, USA, August 29th, 2019: Helsinn, a Swiss pharmaceutical group focused on building quality cancer care, announced that it will partner with Lyfebulb, a patient-empowerment platform that connects patients with industry to support user-driven innovation, to host their third annual Innovation Summit and Award in Oncology.

The Lyfebulb-Helsinn Innovation Summit will be held at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco on January 29th and 30th, 2020, culminating in the announcement of the 2020 Award winner on January 30th, during the 14th Monaco Biennale of Oncology.

The Summit is open to Patient Entrepreneurs building groundbreaking companies to advance the prevention, diagnosis, management or care of cancer. Patient Entrepreneurs include cancer patients, cancer survivors, or those having a close relative or loved one with cancer.

All candidates are invited to submit applications through the Lyfebulb-Helsinn Innovation Summit & Award website, where more information regarding eligibility and key criteria is available. Submissions may be made between September 16th and November 17th, 2019.

Riccardo Braglia, Helsinn Group Vice Chairman and CEO, commented: “Cancer patients and their real life experience are at the heart of what the Helsinn Group does. We are strongly committed to supporting inspired Patient Entrepreneurs who have a unique insight into products and solutions which can bring respect and integrity to the patient community and quality solutions to the challenges they face.”

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Helsinn again to help accelerate solutions that patients have identified as much needed into the marketplace,” said Dr Karin Hehenberger, CEO and Founder of Lyfebulb. “Getting this group of select Patient Entrepreneurs together not only increases their exposure, but also fosters a unique collaboration between innovators with a shared mission of serving patients’ unmet needs.”

About the Helsinn Group

Helsinn is a privately-owned pharmaceutical group with an extensive portfolio of marketed cancer care products and a robust drug development pipeline. Since 1976, Helsinn has been improving the everyday lives of patients, guided by core family values of respect, integrity and quality. The Group works across pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical devices and nutritional supplements and has expertise in research, development, manufacture and the commercialization of therapeutic and supportive care products for cancer, pain and inflammation and gastroenterology. In 2016, Helsinn created the Helsinn Investment Fund to support early-stage investment opportunities in areas of unmet patient need. The company is headquartered in Lugano, Switzerland, with operating subsidiaries in Switzerland, Ireland, the U.S., Monaco and China, as well as a product presence in approximately 190 countries globally.

To learn more about Helsinn Group please visit www.helsinn.com

About Helsinn Investment Fund S.A., SICAR

The Helsinn Investment Fund is focused on investments in areas of high unmet patient need. Backed by the Helsinn Group, and guided by Helsinn’s core values of quality, integrity and respect, Helsinn Investment Fund aims to help companies with innovative technologies to transform new ideas into commercial solutions with the potential to impact health-related quality of life of patients.

Drawing on Helsinn’s over 40 years of investment into research and development and commercial expertise, the investment fund selects companies with technologies in a range of areas including cancer therapeutics and diagnostics, cancer supportive care, metabolic and gastrointestinal disorders, and dermatology conditions.

For more information, visit www.helsinninvestmentfund.com

About Helsinn International Services sarl

Helsinn International Services sarl is the Helsinn subsidiary which provides a range of advisory services and strategic activities to the Group and its specific companies. In particular, it acts as the advisory company to Helsinn Investment Fund.

About Lyfebulb

Lyfebulb is a chronic disease-focused, patient empowerment platform that connects patients and industry to support user-driven innovation. Grounded with its strong foundation in diabetes, the company has expanded disease states covered into cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, mental illness and migraine.

See www.lyfebulb.com, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Lyfebulb LinkedIn, and Karin Hehenberger LinkedIn.

For more information:

Helsinn Group Media Contact
Paola Bonvicini
Group Head of Communication
Lugano, Switzerland
Tel: +41 (0) 91 985 21 21

For more information, please visit www.helsinn.com and follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn and Vimeo.

Lyfebulb Media Contact:

Karin Hehenberger, MD, PhD
CEO & Founder, Lyfebulb
Phone: + 1 917-575-0210
Email: karin@lyfebulb.com

SuperBetter Partners With Psych Hub To Provide Videos About Mental Health

People around the world play SuperBetter to be stronger and more successful at achieving goals and overcoming challenges across many areas of their lives, including their mental health.

Today, we have great news to share — especially for those playing SuperBetter to tackle depression, anxiety and other challenges related to mental health. Psych Hub has partnered with SuperBetter to provide access to a library of high quality educational videos featuring mental health topics. These videos are available at no cost to the SuperBetter Community.

Psych Hub is a mission-aligned organization that has created a library of short, educational videos on various topics related to mental health such as depression, anxiety, bipolar, PTSD, eating disorders, and evidence based treatments. It was founded by Marjorie Morrison, former CEO of PsychArmor Institute, (a non-profit organization dedicated to providing free online courses about an array of issues of interest to the military community and their families), and Patrick J. Kennedy, former congressman of Rhode Island, mental health advocate, and founder of The Kennedy Forum.

Psych Hub’s mission is to spread greater knowledge and awareness about mental health issues and to decrease the stigma associated with them. By combining clinical research with the art of storytelling, Psych Hub videos provide mental health education that is accessible to everyone.

Psych Hub is partnering with respected organizations like SuperBetter as part of its commitment to bringing accurate and reliable information about mental health to a broader audience. As a partner we have our own page on Psych Hub for the SuperBetter Community. On this page are many videos that we think SuperBetter fans and users may find of interest. We invite you to click over, check them out, and share them with your family, friends, colleagues, and communities!

Lyfebulb and UnitedHealth Group Announce The Winner of Their 2019 Innovation Challenge for Patient Entrepreneurs

Challenge brought together 10 finalists who are building solutions for those affected by depression and anxiety

MINNETONKA, Minn., and NEW YORK (July 24, 2019) Lyfebulb LLC and UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) are pleased to announce that Rohan Dixit of Lief Therapeutics was selected as the winner of the “Addressing Unmet Needs in Depression & Anxiety: An Innovation Challenge.” Lief Therapeutics has developed an intuitive, data-driven wearable consumer product for anxiety used to teach the skill of mindfulness using heart rate variability.

Rohan was selected from a group of passionate innovators who were finalists in the Challenge, including Jay Brown of Health Behavior Solutions; Matt Loper of Wellth; Lisa McLaughlin of Workit Health; Katherine Ponte of ForLikeMinds; Jan Samzelius of NeuraMetrix; Dr. Ryan Stoll of COMPASS for Courage; Dr. Mehran Talebinejad of NeuroQore; Quayce Thomas of Timsle; and Keith Wakeman of SuperBetter.

Dennis Urbaniak, Chief Digital Officer of Havas Health & You, who served as Chair of the Jury commented, “Rohan not only has a mission and purpose that aligned with the criteria of the challenge, but also has taken a conventional approach and reimagined it through the patient experience with evidence-based science behind it. Additionally, he has identified viable pathways to commercialization.”

The Innovation Challenge was open to established companies of all sizes that are founded or led by an entrepreneur who has been affected by depression and anxiety, whether as a patient or through a loved one, and who has created a product or service to address an unmet need identified through personal experience. The 10 finalists gathered at UnitedHealth Group’s headquarters for two days of meetings, workshops and pitch presentations. The event culminated with a panel of esteemed judges selecting Rohan Dixit for the $25,000 award.

“Partnering with UnitedHealth Group for a second year in a new therapeutic area which impacts all of healthcare is tremendous for Lyfebulb,” said Dr. Karin Hehenberger, Founder and CEO of Lyfebulb. “We have established a community of people affected by and caring about depression and anxiety, from which we sourced ten exceptional patient entrepreneurs to join us in Minnetonka over the past few days. Their passion and determination to solve daily issues that burden so many individuals came through clearly during the pitches.”

The judges included experts from the patient, business and medical communities including Mike Christy, Senior Vice President of Venture Development at UnitedHealth Group; Dr. Raja M. David, Founder and Owner of Minnesota Center for Collaborative/Therapeutic Assessment; Matt Kudish, Executive Director at NAMI-NYC (National Association of Mental Illness); AnnMarie Otis, Patient Advocate; Dr. Bethany Ranes, Research Associate at UnitedHealth Group; and Dennis Urbaniak, Chief Digital Officer at Havas Health & You.

“Through this innovation challenge, we learned from patients and caretakers who live and breathe the challenges of this disease every day,” said Dr. Deneen Vojta, Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of Research & Development at UnitedHealth Group.  “We see depression and anxiety touch all populations we serve and we valued the opportunity to bring together entrepreneurs, health care providers, patient advocates and business leaders at the summit. Together, we can help bring the most innovative, effective tools – inspired by personal experiences – into the marketplace.”

Celgene, Lyfebulb put patient spin on MS innovation challenge

Innovation challenges continue to proliferate in the pharma industry, and Celgene’s is the latest, seeking crowdsourced solutions for multiple sclerosis (MS) patients. Its partnership with Lyfebulb is unique, however, in that it only accepted entries from patients or direct relations of patients.

In the MS challenge with Celgene, Lyfebulb and its Big Biotech partner have narrowed the field to 10 patient entrepreneur finalists, with a “Shark Tank”-style finish set for June 12-13. Each finalist will get 10 minutes to present to a professional panel of judges that will include a patient advocacy group lead, patient ambassador and venture capitalist, plus reps from pharma and the insurance industry. At the end of the second day, one winner will be chosen for the top prize of $25,000. But even more valuable than the money, said Lyfebulb founder and CEO Karin Hehenberger, is the exposure to pharma executives, additional funding sources and other influential industry players.

Celgene first approached Lyfebulb last year in an effort to better understand MS patient needs as it readied its first multiple sclerosis treatment for market. Since then, the FDA has pushed back on Celgene’s candidate ozanimod with a refuse-to-file notice and a request more data on preclinical and clinical pharmacology, delaying the company’s NDA filing until March of this year. The new ozanimod data hit its targets, though, and analysts project the drug could still reach $2 billion in sales in the already competitive oral MS drug market. In the meantime, Celgene has also become an M&A partner for Bristol-Myers Squibb in a $74 billion deal approved by shareholders in April.

The Celgene challenge for multiple sclerosis is Lyfebulb’s seventh patient-sourced contest, with previous partners including Novo Nordisk for diabetes, Helsinn Healthcare for oncology and United Healthcare for depression and anxiety solutions.

Hehenberger, a physician and Type 1 diabetes patient who has walked the walk of chronic disease with two transplants and a pacemaker implant, launched the company in 2014 to help give patients a voice in industry solutions.

“We believe insights and solutions from patients can be leveraged by pharma and by tech and device companies to enhance their pipelines, to get closer to patients and to learn what it’s like to live with these diseases,” she said. “For the patients, they finally really get heard. For pharma companies, instead of just being patient-centric, they now work side by side with patients.”

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Source: Beth Snyder Bulik, FiercePharma

Lyfebulb and UnitedHealth Group Launch Second Annual Innovation Challenge for Patient Entrepreneurs

Lyfebulb and UnitedHealth Group Launch Second Annual Innovation Challenge for Patient Entrepreneurs

  • Challenge aims to inspire patient-driven innovation in the management of depression and anxiety
  • Finalists will compete at UnitedHealth Group headquarters for a chance to win $25,000

group image for UnitedHealth Innovation Challenge

MINNETONKA, Minn. and NEW YORK, May 13, 2019 /PRNewswire/ Lyfebulb LLC and UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) invite patient entrepreneurs to compete in “Empowering Patients: An Innovation Challenge,” for the second annual Lyfebulb and UnitedHealth Group Innovation Award.

This year’s challenge will recognize the top patient entrepreneurs developing innovative ideas for better management of depression and anxiety using health care information technology, medical devices, diagnostics, consumer products or services.

UnitedHealth Grouup logo

Eligible companies are those that are founded or led by a patient entrepreneur: someone who has been personally affected by depression or anxiety (themselves or through a loved one) and who develops a product or service to address an unmet need identified through personal experience. Companies based in the United States or Canada (excluding Quebec) are eligible to apply. The application, detailed rules and eligibility criteria can be found at click here. Applications are open until 11:59pm EST on May 31, 2019.

“Depression and anxiety are issues that particularly affect people living with chronic disease,” said Dr. Karin Hehenberger, founder and CEO of Lyfebulb. “We are honored to work with UnitedHealth Group on an issue that affects so many people in our community and nationwide. We are eager to tap into the unique insights that patients have, and leverage those to identify user-driven solutions by patient entrepreneurs for issues they face.”

A joint steering committee composed of Lyfebulb and UnitedHealth Group executives will conduct a thorough sourcing and screening process, and select 10 finalists who will be invited to the Empowering Patients event July 23-24, 2019, at UnitedHealth Group’s headquarters in Minnetonka. There, the finalists will pitch their solutions to a panel of experts (a jury) from the business, medical and patient communities. The jury will award a $25,000 prize to the company with the most innovative and impactful solution at the closing ceremony.

“Depression and anxiety weave through all areas of disease – chronic and acute – yet they are understudied and underserved in terms of dialogue and solutions today in the United States,” said Gene Baker, Ph.D., a research fellow at UnitedHealth Group. “We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with Lyfebulb and look forward to hearing from patients and entrepreneurs to learn more about the innovative, patient-driven solutions to help people living with depression and chronic disease.”

About Lyfebulb
Lyfebulb is a chronic disease-focused, patient empowerment platform that connects patients and industry (manufacturers and payers) to support user-driven innovation. Lyfebulb promotes a healthy, take-charge lifestyle for those affected by chronic disease. Grounded with its strong foundation in diabetes, the company has expanded disease states covered into cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis and depression/anxiety.

See www.lyfebulb.com, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Karin Hehenberger LinkedIn, and Lyfebulb LinkedIn.

About UnitedHealth Group
UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) is a diversified health care company dedicated to helping people live healthier lives and helping to make the health system work better for everyone. UnitedHealth Group offers a broad spectrum of products and services through two distinct platforms: UnitedHealthcare, which provides health care coverage and benefits services; and Optum, which provides information and technology-enabled health services. For more information, visit UnitedHealth Group at unitedhealthgroup.com or follow @UnitedHealthGrp on Twitter.


Karin Hehenberger, M.D., Ph.D., CEO
917-575-0210; Karin@lyfebulb.com

UnitedHealth Group
Tyler Mason
424-333-6122, tyler.mason@uhg.com

Lyfebulb and Celgene Announce Finalists for 2019 “Addressing Unmet Needs in MS: An Innovation Challenge”

Lyfebulb and Celgene Announce Finalists for 2019 “Addressing Unmet Needs in MS: An Innovation Challenge”

Finalist patient entrepreneurs recognized for potential of innovations in multiple sclerosis (MS)

Image at Celegene 2019 challenge

NEW YORK, May 10, 2019 /PRNewswire/ Lyfebulb, a chronic disease-focused, patient-empowerment platform that connects patients with industry to support user-driven innovation, and Celgene Corporation (NASDAQ: CELG) announced the 10 finalists chosen for the Lyfebulb-Celgene 2019 “Addressing Unmet Needs in MS: An Innovation Challenge.”

The following finalists will compete at the Innovation Challenge Summit on June 13, 2019, for a $25,000 monetary grant to further develop their proposed innovations:

Celgene Logo with tagline

  • Abilitech Medical, Shawna Persaud: Medical device intended to help people with MS with mobility challenges use their arms
  • AXS Map, Jason DaSilva: Web platform that allows users to locate, rate and review the accessibility of any location in the world
  • BeCareLink, Alan Gilbert: Predictive artificial intelligence (AI) digital therapeutics platform which remotely measures clinically validated assessments of cognition and motion to help improve quality of care and reduce costs for people with MS
  • C. Light Technologies, Inc, Zachary Helft: Neurotech and AI technology using eye motion measured on the cellular scale to monitor disease state in people with MS for treatment efficacy feedback
  • Dance4Healing, Amy Li: AI-powered telehealth live video platform which brings community, exercise and physical rehabilitation into the home to encourage healthy behavior change
  • Icometrix, Wim Van Hecke: AI-based brain imaging solutions to monitor disease progression
  • Leoplus USA, Kinza Kasher: Device and app which aims to support communications between patients and care partners
  • Loro co., David Hojah: Socially assistive companion robot for people with mobility challenges
  • Moodify, Kate Milliken: Web-based tool which builds communities, aims to reduce loneliness, creates searchable content moments and tracks the emotional journey
  • ThermApparel LLC, Bradley Dunn: Lightweight, comfortable and concealable cooling apparel for people with extreme heat sensitivity

“At Lyfebulb, we build communities of patients with chronic disease around a message of inspiration and hope for the future. Each of these patient entrepreneurs is inspirational, as they have taken their frustrations of living with their disease – or observing it in a loved one – and are working to turn those insights into business solutions to help members of the MS community live their daily lives more comfortably,” said Dr. Karin Hehenberger, CEO and Founder of Lyfebulb.

These finalists are being recognized as outstanding patient entrepreneurs – those who have been affected by MS as either a patient, loved one or support partner – whose companies are helping develop solutions to address an unmet need in MS. A “pitch session” will be held at the Challenge Summit, and a winner will be chosen by a diverse group of experts in the MS, healthcare and business communities. The panel of judges will include:

  • Tim Coetzee, PhD: Chief Advocacy, Services and Research Officer, National Multiple Sclerosis Society;
  • Adam Fine: General Partner and CEO, Windham Venture Partners;
  • Elizabeth Jones: MS Patient Ambassador;
  • Darin T. Okuda, MD, MS, FAAN, FANA: Director, Neuroinnovation Program, Multiple Sclerosis & Neuroimmunology Imaging Program, UT Southwestern Medical Center; and
  • Deneen Vojta, MD: Executive Vice President, Global Research & Development, UnitedHealth Group.

“We are excited to bring together these patient entrepreneurs, judges and members of the Celgene and Lyfebulb teams for an engaging and interactive summit,” said Terrie Curran, President, Celgene Inflammation and Immunology. “Ultimately, we hope to foster discussion about ways to advance innovation in the space and look forward to awarding this grant that will help support people with MS and their families.”

About Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, often debilitating disease that affects approximately 2.5 million people worldwide. In MS, an abnormal response of the body’s immune system causes inflammation and damage to myelin—the substance covering nerve fibers—in addition to damage to nerves themselves. Signs and symptoms are varied and can pose significant challenges in daily life.

About Lyfebulb
Lyfebulb is a chronic disease-focused, patient empowerment platform that connects patients and industry (manufacturers and payers) to support user-driven innovation. Lyfebulb promotes a healthy, take-charge lifestyle for those affected by chronic disease. Grounded with its strong foundation in diabetes, the company has expanded disease states covered into cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, and depression/anxiety.

See www.lyfebulb.com, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Karin Hehenberger LinkedIn, and Lyfebulb LinkedIn.

About Celgene
Celgene Corporation, headquartered in Summit, New Jersey, is an integrated global pharmaceutical company engaged primarily in the discovery, development and commercialization of innovative therapies for the treatment of cancer and inflammatory diseases through next-generation solutions in protein homeostasis, immuno-oncology, epigenetics, immunology and neuro-inflammation. For more information, please visit www.celgene.com. Follow Celgene on Social Media: @Celgene, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube.

For inquiries, please contact:

Karin Hehenberger, M.D., Ph.D., CEO

Working Out With No Obstacles

Hello friends! My name is Judy and I’ve been a T1 diabetic for 18 years now! You may know me from my Instagram account @hyper.hypo and blog/shop (www.diahyperhypo.com), and you may already know how much I love to help other T1s with my experiences and tips. I believe that diabetes should never be a limitation, and with a positive attitude and positive thoughts, it is easier to live with this disease that often feels like riding a rollercoaster.

I know that having T1 can often lead to a lot of questions:  ‘’Should I inject for this’’, ‘’Should I eat now?’, ‘’Should I tell people I’m low and not actually drunk?’’ However, in my opinion, one of the main subjects that us T1s tend to ask questions about is type one diabetes and exercise. A lot of diabuddies think that they need to workout less or not at all because of their numbers, or even limit themselves to a type of exercise but I am telling you with full confidence: THAT IS NOT TRUE!

I believe so much in the affirmation: ‘’Diabetes is not a limitation’’ that I decided to launch my own line of diabetes sportswear.

I decided to create something that will empower a lot of type ones when exercising: a sports bra with an integrated pocket to put the insulin pump (or PDM or supplies or phone, you decide!). I know that working out while having T1 diabetes brings extra responsibilities, so having a pocket that will let you have an intensive and satisfying workout will motivate you to get off your couch and move!

In my case, every time I work out, I feel good. You may think: ‘’Okay Judy that is so cliché!’’ It is, I have to admit it, but it’s the truth! Here are my 3 main tips that help me exercise with type one diabetes:

  1. It’s okay to change your schedule

Be mindful. Accept the fact that you didn’t stick to your workout plan. Accept the fact that you exercised during the evening and not in the morning like you planned to because of your numbers. Once you accept that your schedule might me modified, you will be happier while working out. Things happen!

2. Try to workout with no insulin on board

Working out in the morning works best because there is no insulin in the body (well usually). Sometimes, the blood sugar might spike, so it is important to know your body and to know that a correction might be needed. If there is insulin on board (meaning you injected yourself not so long before), you might need to set a temporary basal rate (if you’re on the pump) or try to inject less insulin before a meal/snack before a workout for next time.

3. Yes, what you eat is important!

Food. Everybody loves food, right? The thing with food is that it can give you instant satisfaction, but might get you lazy if you don’t eat something good for you. Eating a lot of vegetables, fruits and fibers will get you motivated and won’t make you say:

“Ugh yeah I’ll go to the gym tomorrow.” Eating proteins and carbs coming from non-fatty foods will make you feel good, help with your digestion, and affect your numbers before/ after a workout in a beautiful way!

And always remember: Train 30mn a day to avoid being tired 24h a day!

– Judy

Inside the Patient Entrepreneur’s Mind: Gitte Pedersen


What motivated you to create a business addressing a disease you know so well?

My parents got diagnosed with lung cancer and I knew if we followed standard of care they were facing an evidenced based death. Understanding genomics and cancer made my brother and I believe that there were better options looking into clinical trials for eg immune therapies. The question became which trial and due to the 1000 of trials available it was overwhelming. We also understood that cancer is a very heterogeneous diseases thus we needed a tool that could identify the unique features in the tumor that could be interrogated by drugs either approved or in development. We developed that tool, and named it OneRNA™ unfortunately not in time for our parents to benefit from it, however we have 2 newly diagnosed cancer patients in the family so the next generation is benefitting.


What are some of the hurdles you perceive exist for people with your disease?

It is overwhelming and difficult to navigate various treatment options without an effective tool which can reduce the number of options to something more manageable e.g. OneRNA™ typically identifies 5 already approved drugs and shortlist 30 clinical trials. By combining various liquid biopsy strategies after treatment selection it is now possible to quickly find out of you benefit from a treatment and with more than 1 option and the potential of combining drugs e.g. a tumor antigen with a checkpoint inhibitor, the treatment can be completely personalized to the patient.


Who are some of your role models in your space?

I believe that Foundation Medicine is a 1.0 version of this idea. I also believe that Genomic Health is a 0.5 version demonstrating the utility of RNA in treatment selection in breast cancer more specifically avoiding chemo when its not necessary. OneRNA™ is a 2.0 version c combining those strategies into one product.


What is your goal beyond creating a successful business?

The “standard of care” paradigm must change in oncology to a completely “personalized  treatment” paradigm, and my personal goal is to provide THE platfrom that enables this shift. We will not cure cancer by continuing developing drugs that only work in 20% of the patients and subjecting the other 80% to harsh and sometimes deadly side effects with no benefits, to me that is barbaric and unnecessary. My ultimate bottom line is make cancer a chronic manageable disease that you survive by choosing the right treatment.


What does being a patient entrepreneur mean to you?

It means that you are personally invested in the success of your technology in solving a significant medical problem. It also means that you are not going to give up even facing significant hurdles such as a payer system that in general overpay for drugs and under pay for diagnostics. We are innovating outside the lab in how we address those hurdles developing novel business models.


How do you stay healthy and motivated to deliver?

I read an amazing amount of literature every week and I am very knowledgeable about how to eat healthy and live healthy. I done that for my whole life. My parents did not have that knowledge and they made some very poor decisions early in their lives (smoking). Their life was shortened and more importantly the quality of life in their last decade was reduced because of those choices. I saw their decline and I made a conscious decision to live a healthy and long life: I exercise every day. I am a true believer in data and love my Apple health app. I also love Chronometer to monitor the quality of my food intake. You can’t cheat when the data is there.


How has mentorship made a difference in your professional and personal life?

I was fortunate to have a great mentor while working for Novo Nordisk. He encouraged me to read “A road less travelled”, in short enjoy the trip rather than focus on the arrival. I believe my parents instilled in me a great sense of purpose and the belief that I could accomplish what I wanted. They both played a very significant role. I have great investors that I get feedback from on a regular basis, same situation with by board in addition to a mentor who works with the North Shore InnoVenture – our incubator. The latter is a great independant voice.


How can we draw more attention to user-driven innovation?

Create personal success stories and get media coverage. That is already part of our media plan. The problem does get more real than when its your problem.


How do you maintain work/life balance?

I had days where I worked for 24 hrs (not healthy) but I did it because it was important for me to wake up with my kids in the morning. I sign out after 6 pm most days. If I need to go back its after my family goes to bed. I also work early in the day in the weekends and I stop when the family wakes up. I love my family, my time with them is very precious.


What is your favorite song that gets you motivated?

Nina Simone, Feeling Good


What are some of your favorite social activities?

I love cooking and eating dinner with friends and my family. I also love traveling, skiing and surfing with friends and family.

What three things would you take if stranded on an island?

My iPhone  with solar charger, a bikini and sun screen


Personal/Company Twitter handle: @dnabarcode

Patient Entrepreneur Series: Anna Sjӧberg

Anna Sjӧberg is the CEO and founder of AnnaPS Scandinavia. As a Type 1 Diabetic since 1998, Ms. Sjӧberg wears an insulin pump and began to design underwear with pockets so that she would be able to wear the pump at night, when she was exercising, or when she wanted to use clothes without pockets such as dresses. AnnaPS released its first products in 2011. 

What motivated you to create a business addressing a disease you know so well?

My heart is burning to help others live a lovely life feeling strong and healthy. I always look for solutions to solve a problem for someone or myself making it possible to live as you would like to do. So when I found out that myself and other diabetics were missing a discrete and comfortable way of carrying an insulin pump, I started to invent the AnnaPS clothes / underwear’s with integrated pockets. I just couldn’t stop thinking about it. I love to make it easier to live with diabetes. It is always a satisfaction when you can help people with already huge challenges in their life.

What are some of the hurdles you perceive exist for people with your disease?

I know it is a challenge to keep up a good spirit, to feel empowered, to manage the diabetes all days 24/7. It is a great challenge to have that power. I think the most hurdles are when you can’t get medication and supporting equipment in a smooth way. When you need to fight to get it. Unfortunatly it is still like that for a lot of us with T1D. I am focusing a lot to eliminate the hurdle of bringing all our diabetes stuff, in good shape and easy accessible.

Who are some of your role models in your space?

Oh yes they are many! All people that are doing so much to spread the awareness about diabetes (especially type 1), all people who arrange events and camps for T1D’s and especially for kids with diabetes. All these people starting businesses and communities within the world of diabetes are so important for us with T1D. But I am also fan of all T1D’s who do sports on a very high level, they really learn so much about managing diabetes and their knowledge is so helpful for all of us. My biggest role model is today the Swede Robin Bryntesson, a T1D and former junior world championship winner in cross-country skiing. He is working so hard to empower kids with T1D to live their dreams and not feeling stopped to do what they want to do. He is doing so much for other T1D’s and one thing are camps for kids with T1D.

In my entrepreneurship I have a lot of Swedish fashion brands as role models. They deliver high fashion, high quality, are stylish, relaxed and unexpected. I love that.

What is your goal beyond creating a successful business?

I would like to earn money to be able to support diabetes related activities, especially for kids, such as camps. My goal is also to enable people with diabetes to try out living in AnnaPS clothes and finding out how easy it can be to carry all your diabetes stuff and also feel more relaxed by having all your things close to you, at all times. To support diabetics to feel more relaxed and comfortable in their life.

What does Lyfebulb mean to you? How can we support you better? what are some of the biggest gaps today for a “young” entrepreneur?

Lyfebulb is a very important player, helping us to get in touch with the right people. I am so happy to be one of the finalists in Lyfelbulb Novo Nordisk Award. I would like to take more part in Lyfebulb events etc.

How do you stay healthy and motivated to deliver?

I am living a hectic life with an own business and two very sporty active kids. I am involved in and supporting a lot of organizations. To make this possible I am helped by being very interested in food and exercising. I love to eat food that makes me feel strong. Today I eat primal eating (no pasta, gluten, rice, potatoes, bad oils and processed foods). I exercise a lot, many hours in very low pace and out in the nature. I love to relax doing yoga and soft movements. When I have more focus on myself I do a quick weight training and flexibility program 3 times/week and once a week I do interval training  (if I’m up to it). I’m careful regarding my sleep and recovery and prefer relaxing in the nature, especially in the Winter as I love cross-country skiing.


How has mentorship made a difference in your professional and personal life?

I am a strong believer in mentorship and have acting like it myself for 30 years. I have also had a lot of help from my own mentors. I think people get more relaxed and smarter when thinking together and supporting each other.

How can we draw more attention to user-driven innovation?

It is difficult to introduce new products and in this branch there are lots of big companies. It is very expensive to be part of fairs and exhibitions. I think it would be great to find a way for start-ups to be able to take part in these events without having to spend so much money. I also think it would be great to take part in virtual big events, we should start virtual diabets events!

How do you maintain work/life balance?

I try to maintain it…..it’s not easy. I need to take breaks and I always try to take a short walk in the daytime. My best days I do yoga and feel so much better.

If you had three wishes, what would they be?

A cure for diabetes is of course top 1, but before we find the cure my wish is an easy manageable  accurate CGM system and insulin pump in a close loop, communicating  the blood sugar status to me regularly (as Nightscout make possible today) and of course, I wish AnnaPS clothes to all diabetics.

What is your favorite song that gets you motivated?

I love an artist named Laleh and she have a great song called Some die young. This helps me to feel my beloved died father inside myself, he helps me go on.

Inside the Patient Entrepreneur’s Mind: Shai Rozen



Having a chronic illness can be challenging, and running your own business can be hard. No matter where you fit on the spectrum, we could all use a little motivation.  Our #InsidethePatientEntrepreneursMind blog series gives you insight and lifehacks on how to stay motivated by some of the most innovative patient entrepreneurs in the world.

Shai Rozen is the Co-Founder & CMO of Suggestic, an artificial intelligence tool to help tackle health and nutrition.

What motivated you to create a business addressing a disease you know so well?

Actually, it’s not me with the disease, it was my father who passed away from T2D-related issues.

There are a number of things that came together that motivated me and my cofounder, Victor, to start Suggestic, but one of those was born out of the realization that all this suffering my dad went through was completely preventable. Every time I think about it drives me a bit crazy.

What are some of the hurdles you perceive exist for people with your disease?

The biggest hurdle I see relates to “good” decision making. How do you navigate the myriad of options in front of you? Let’s take food, for example, we know that there are relatively good and healthy options available in most places, but most of us tend to make the “wrong” choices. So how do you filter out all the noise? This is actually the focus of our work at Suggestic. Providing contextually-relevant healthy food recommendations that fir your personal dietary needs.

Who are some of your role models in your space?

There are some amazing people working hard to tackle type 2 diabetes and chronic disease in general but I’d like to specially recognize my team at Suggestic whose passion and effort are a continuous source of inspiration.

What is your goal beyond creating a successful business?

Simple, one word: impact. Of the positive kind.

What does Lyfebulb mean to you? How can we support you better? what are some of the biggest gaps today for a “young” entrepreneur?

A supporting community of likeminded and purpose-driven entrepreneurs. As entrepreneurs, we constantly make assumptions about the way things work or about how people behave, so more forms of interaction between the members would be a great way to validate some of these assumptions.

How do you stay healthy and motivated to deliver?

Putting some time aside to take care of myself is key, but what truly keeps me motivated is two things: learning new things about health and seeing results when I make a change of any kind.

How has mentorship made a difference in your professional and personal life?

It has made a tremendous difference. It’s much like taking a shortcut. You piggyback on someone else’s experience and not only learn but also it saves you from making obvious mistakes. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s important to make mistakes and learn from them, but I’m pretty sure there will always be more mistakes to make and if you can stand on someone else’s shoulders and start ahead that’s a big blessing.

How can we draw more attention to user-driven innovation?

It’s funny to me that this is even a question. If you are building a tool for a certain type of user what makes you think that you know better than them? Everything we do at the company should ultimately benefit its users. Which by the way it’s what is wrong, in my opinion, with so many organizations that aim to benefit shareholders and not costumers. Now, you do need to listen creatively, meaning, focus more on the problem that they are having than how they think it should be solved.

How do you maintain work/life balance?

When you are lucky to work on something that not only you are passionate about but is also purpose driven, the lines between work and “life” get blurred.

Practically speaking, we all need to learn to prioritize and draw some lines to make sure we get time to re-energize and keep going.

If you had three wishes, what would they be?

Infinite energy and more hours in the day (there’s just a lot that needs to get done.), immortality and a magic wand that allows us to really understand each other.

What is your favorite song that gets you motivated?

It’s funny but every now and then I like to listen to Steve Jobs’ 1997 ad “The Crazy Ones”, it never aired.


Inside the Patient Entrepreneurs Mind: Dana Donofree

Having a chronic illness can be challenging, and running your own business can be hard. No matter where you fit on the spectrum, we could all use a little motivation.  Our #InsidethePatientEntrepreneursMind blog series gives you insight and lifehacks on how to stay motivated from some of the most innovative patient entrepreneurs in the world.

Dana Donofree is the Founder, CEO and Head Designer of AnaOno, a lingerie & loungewear line created specifically for those who’ve been affected by breast cancer and its related surgeries.

Dana sat down with Lyfebulb to tell us how she started the collection after being diagnosed with Infiltrative Ductal Carcinoma. Dana had a bilateral mastectomy with implant reconstruction. She was underwhelmed by the bra options for women in this category and devoted her recovery and career to creating a line that was functional and fashionable.

What motivated you to create a business addressing a disease you know so well?
Being a patient isn’t easy. But it’s not because of the doctor appointments, or the life disruption, or how to manage your loved ones, it’s because all you want is to feel like the person you were before it was interrupted. That is the part no one tells you about or explains how it will affect you on levels outside of the pain, sadness, or struggle you go through…it isn’t just physical, it’s incredibly mental. When I found myself lost, confused, and having no way to find the answers, the diagnosis started dictating parts of life that were never expected, like how I felt about myself, or how I wanted to express my individuality. It was then I woke up and realized I may not be the only facing these challenges. That I may not be alone. I needed to do something about it. For me, that was taking my experience, my background, and my talents and putting them to use. That guided me to launch AnaOno. I wanted to feel beautiful, I wanted to feel sexy, and pretty and it started with my foundation. The act of simply getting dressed in the morning became my most feared task of the day, that didn’t happen before my cancer.

What are some of the hurdles you perceive exist for people with your disease?
People hear breast cancer, they see Pink. Pink shows pretty, femininity, lightness. There is nothing about breast cancer that represents these words that pink is so easily associated with. There is destruction and darkness. These are the realities, they are not pink. They are not something to celebrate. I was diagnosed at 27 years old, my life was just beginning, the pink shower that fell upon me was completely unrelatable. Living as a patient is my reality. I have to constantly face the marketing reality that has been presented to everyone else, that is an everyday struggle.

Who are some of your role models in your space?
My role models are the mothers, sisters, friends, aunts, coworkers that are diagnosed every day. It isn’t our grandmother’s (or grandfather’s) disease anymore. Breast cancer does not discriminate. And although I am facing my 8th year as a patient advocate, I see too many friends and loved ones facing a new diagnosis. They give me strength, remembrance and hope that we will conquer this disease, but we cannot accept what has been done in the past, and we must pave our own path to ensure our future is a world in which we get one more day with the ones we love.

What is your goal beyond creating a successful business?
AnaOno is not just about selling bras. Yes, we sell bras, but it is more than that. It’s a community, a support system that you can rely on for important, tangible information. I don’t want anyone diagnosed with breast cancer to feel alone; that extends itself beyond providing solutions for your treatment, it’s about supporting and holding each other up when we feel like falling. AnaOno can help strengthen that community.

What does Lyfebulb mean to you? How can we support you better? what are some of the biggest gaps today for a “young” entrepreneur?
For Lyfebulb to take a focus on chronic disease, by not only supporting the patients living with it every day but supporting those that have the skills and background to help make a difference, is an important piece of development in our community. Like living day-to-day doesn’t challenge enough, taking the extra step to make those days just a little easier is the path many of us take after facing these unique challenges. I am so proud to be a part of the Lyfebulb family, so I can not only have their support but I can support others taking the path less traveled and adding on the challenge of launching a new business!

How do you stay healthy and motivated to deliver?
Staying healthy is always something I strive for but feel I often fall short. I know life is short. I want to make sure my body is treated in the best way possible, medical side effects can really take hold. Then add on top of that launching a business. I have to give myself time to unwind whenever possible. It may be dinner with my friends, it may be a moment of meditation or a walk through the park. Just a moment to let my mind rest, while my body may be tired. I hope to find my path to mental clarity on a daily basis. That is something I will always have to prioritize in my life.

How has mentorship made a difference in your professional and personal life?
As a “young” entrepreneur, I know a lot, but I don’t know everything. Being open to criticism and feedback, using it to become stronger is very important in both personal and professional growth. It is also good to celebrate the wins or accomplishments. Great mentors will be there to celebrate with you!

How can we draw more attention to user-driven innovation?
Starting your own business, or inventing your own solution can be overwhelming, not to mention scary. Especially when you may not have all the skill sets needed, but I do believe with passion you can achieve anything you put your mind to. By telling stories of other entrepreneurs, who have launched their businesses, I can learn more through real voices and challenges. It also helps you to feel not so alone. It’s beneficial to hear the good, the bad and the ugly… because we all have those moments.

How do you maintain work/life balance?
Maintaining a work/life balance is hard when your work is your life. It may sound crazy, but I love every single moment of my life, and those that are involved, and those I get to meet because of AnaOno. It could be an introduction to another young woman facing a diagnosis, or another woman entrepreneur, or even teaching students how they can get started. My life is my passion, and my passion is my life.

If you had three wishes, what would they be?
That by the time my nieces and nephews grow into adults that they don’t have to be afraid when receiving a cancer diagnosis because treatments will be widely available.
For our society to see disparity as equal.
That no woman faced with a diagnosis feels alone in her life and her treatment.

What is your favorite song that gets you motivated?
Janet Jackson, Black Cat

#InsidethePatientEntrepreneursMind is a weekly blog series that highlights members of Lyfebulb’s Patient-Entrepreneur Circle. The Entrepreneur Circle is an educational and inspirational platform for all people living with or affected by chronic disease. Existing entrepreneurs will be available to educate new dreamers through the website and through live events. Check out last week’s featuring Johnnie Refvik. To read more or to apply to join the Entrepreneur Circle click here.

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