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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
Info-hhc@helsinn.com

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

Inside the Patient Entrepreneur’s Mind: John Wilcox

Managing a chronic illness is challenging, whether it is your own or a loved one’s. Starting and running a business also poses unique challenges. If you struggle with a chronic illness, have started a business, or want to start a business, this blog series can help guide you. “Inside the Patient Entrepreneur’s Mind” offers key insights into chronic disease and mission-driven entrepreneurship by some of the most innovative patient entrepreneurs in the world. 

John Wilcox is the CEO & Co-Founder of Diatech Diabetic Technologies, Inc. 

As a patient entrepreneur, can you describe your personal experience with diabetes from diagnosis through your current daily management and how this experience drove you to innovate the space? 

In 2005, I was diagnosed on my ninth birthday. I figured the only way to come out on top was to make it a positive experience. Growing up, I really identified with the disease and now use it as an opportunity to empathize with others with chronic disease. I wanted to go to medical school, and still might, but this opportunity came up in college to develop intellectual property—what is SmartFusion today.

I took on the business full-time post college graduation of May 2019. My diagnosis gives me a leg up on how to develop technology to help diabetes patients. As a collective community, we can appreciate when someone with a disease can relate to us and effectively create change. My condition is something that I can share and allows me to connect to people and understand how other people are struggling—it is one of the best gifts that I could ever ask for. I don’t know what I would do with my career without this diagnosis because it has turned into a passion to help others and a lesson on how to make the best of situations.

What makes SmartFusion unique and how does it meet an unmet need of the diabetes community?

SmartFusion is a new infusion set that can more accurately tell you if insulin delivery is actually getting into your body. SmartFusion is unique in the fact that it helps patients understand if they are getting insulin.  Insulin pumps on the market right now are not really meeting the standard of being able to tell patient users if their insulin delivery is effectively working. We noticed the issue of infusion set insulin delivery failures where pumps can have issues with insulin delivery efficacy.

Personally, I have had issues going into DKA because of insulin mis-delivery.  I went to an endocrinologist in college who blamed me for poor A1C control rather than it being a technology/pump failure. I want to provide technology that can deliver alerts before hyperglycemia because it happened to me and it is very dangerous. Fixing this unmet need of pump reliability can take one thing off the list of what patients and caregivers go through regarding issues with diabetes care.

Are there any other unmet needs of the diabetes community that you think take priority in working to address? How are patient entrepreneurs well-suited to meet these needs? 

In the future, I would love to focus on software for pumps. There has been great work on hardware that is safe and effective for patients with diabetes but a real gamechanger could be software that pairs any type of CGM with any type of pump. The diabetes “hacker” community is already pairing their own CGMs with pumps but are not following standards of the industry.

Additionally, there is a lot that needs to be addressed in education, especially how to learn to effectively use diabetes technology for parents of children with the disease.

Where do you draw your inspiration and motivation from to keep forging ahead as an entrepreneur in the healthcare industry?

 My inspiration and motivation comes from talking to people who have the condition. I want to make sure the diabetes community is affected and impacted in a positive way. Stories from patients about issues with diabetes care like insulin mis-delivery keep me up at night.

Lastly, what do you do for fun to manage the stress of running a business as both a person with t1d and an entrepreneur? Do you have any similar advice on work-life-disease management balance to others out there thinking of starting a business to meet an unmet need of a chronic disease patient community?

I love to run whenever I can and I find it a very clearing activity. My goal is to John Wilcox 5k racerun the Boston marathon for the JDRF. In terms of advice for other patient entrepreneurs, we have a disease that can help connect us to other people that have the same chronic illness. However, each patient story is unique so taking the time to recognize that is important. For example, my parents helped me get appropriate care at a young age by providing insurance coverage. How dare I compare my journey to patients I meet now, who are in their twenties, who are still without coverage to get insulin. In a nutshell, know that your story is unique and craft a connection to fellow patients based on that fact.

 

 

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:

Lyfebulb
Karin Hehenberger, M.D., Ph.D., CEO
917-575-0210;

How to Improve Your Patient Experience

Potential new treatment found for 'chemo brain'

If you’re a medical professional or hospital administrator, then you should know the importance of patient experience. Specifically, you should know how vital it is that every patient leaves your healthcare establishment not only feeling healthy but also feeling happy with the experience they had with you. It is for this reason why you should be making the improvement of your patient-centered care a top priority, no matter how good it might already be.

Quicken your processes

Nobody wants to have to have to wait around in life, especially when it comes to things that link directly to their health. It is for this reason why you should seek to quicken your healthcare provision and make it as swift a process as possible. Attempting to do this does come with its fair share of challenges, though. The biggest problem you will face as you try to make everything quick is the fact that the service that you offer could worsen. To combat such trouble, you have to be willing to accept help from external sources. More to the point, you have to partner up with individual bodies and institutions that are professionals in the area in which you wish to speed up. If you want to quicken the process of sending off and receiving patient samples, for instance, then you should turn to Lifebrite Labs as they can provide lab results within 48 hours without compromising the effectiveness of the results in question.

Make sure your staff know their roles & reward good performance

As well as the external forces that you partner up with, you should also pay close attention to your in-house staff. To the point, you should make sure that each member of your team that works under your charge knows their role. From the reception staff to the maintenance staff to your surgeons, everybody needs to know what is expected of them, and when it is expected. If they don’t, somewhere along the line, mistakes will be made, and a patient’s health could be put at risk.

Do bear in mind that healthcare professionals often feel underappreciated and undervalued, and when they do, their performance levels drop. To stop this from becoming a problem that plagues your healthcare establishment, you should seek to reward your doctors and nurses whenever they show particularly high levels of performance. Good rewards for health givers include Pay-for-Performance (P4P). When you choose to embrace the P4P method of payment, your doctors and nurses will have the incentive to work well right in front of their noses. Additionally, offer relaxation after hard service. For example, after a member of your staff works particularly hard, provide them with a bit of downtime (in this instance, offering free on-site yoga classes is always a good bet). Furthermore, allow flexibility. Your staff will greatly appreciate being offered flexibility when it comes to their home life, and, as a result of that, they’ll be more likely to work harder for you

To improve patient experience, you need to ensure everything about your healthcare establishment is swift, smooth, and concise.

Real Talk with Dave: All About the JDRF Type One Nation Summit

Last Sunday, April 22, 2018, I had the amazing opportunity to volunteer at my very first Type 1 event. JDRF hosted their annual Type One Nation Summit in Pasadena as part of the Los Angeles chapter. My goal for this year has been to get more involved in the Diabetic community, so I just knew that I had to reach out and see if I could be a part of this amazing event! I was given the privilege to work with children who also have Type 1 Diabetes, which was such a surreal and eye-opening experience. Also, throughout the day, I was able to meet many new and amazing Diabetics, many of whom I have met through the online community and now was able to meet them in person.

As the day started, I was greeted by some very kind people working the event who helped get me situated and allowed me to find my way around the place. As I walked through the convention center, many different Type 1 brands and companies were there with their very own booths, which allowed us T1Ds to get some more knowledge and have our questions answered. Brands such as Dexcom, Medtronic, OmniPod, Myabetic, and so many others were there with a few very kind reps from each brand. They were all so nice in welcoming quests and helping them find their new favorite T1D brand. I for one was fascinated by the Dexcom booth as they were promoting their latest and greatest device, the Dexcom G6. It was so neat to be able to see the product right then and there as the Dexcom reps were there showing how it works.

As I went to help the children who lived with T1D, I found myself in a room of so many wonderful kids. You would think that these kids would be somewhat down for the fact that they have to live with T1D, but that wasn’t the case at all. The kids I worked with were so happy to be at the event and meet new friends. I would ask them different questions such as how long they have had Type 1 for, what their blood sugars were (and we would compare our numbers with each other), and what devices they use. There was an instant connection with many of the kids as they were so responsive and excited to share. The day went by and they were thrilled to be in this space with each other as they worked on different projects and had different guests come in and talk with them.

Throughout the event, I would go back and forth from the T1D kids to the T1D adults and found myself fascinated with each and every special bond that was formed with one another. I was able to attend a few break-out sessions and listen in on some very interesting panels, some of which I was familiar with the speakers, which made them much more interesting and enjoyable. I must say that whoever put together this event really knew what Diabetes is actually like as they thought of everything to be presented that day. The topics that they talked about were so relatable to people living with Type 1, which made it so special to be a part of. We even got to meet a T1D hero who has been living with Type 1 for 58 years! He was such an inspiration.

As the day went by, more friendships were formed, more amazing T1D brands were discovered with some amazing purposes in the Diabetic community, and all in all, this event was a beautiful space where we could all come together as one big T1D family. Whoever was there was in support of one another and would lift each other up. New people came, but were immediately invited into the group and fit in right away. Many traveled from near and far to be together on this special day for this extra special event, and that right there made me realize how when we stick together as one big T1D family, this disease has nothing on us. We are brave, strong, and true fighters, we won’t give up and we will rise above in times of trouble. Diabetes doesn’t own us.

If you want to get more involved with the T1D community (which I highly recommend, it will definitely change your life for the better), get in contact with your local T1D organizations and be on the lookout for events/meet-ups in your area and just go for it! It just takes one time to get involved and you will be hooked! Being with other Diabetics is contagious and you will want to meet even more Diabetics each time!

 

Live well,

 

Dave

Real Talk with Dave: Trusting Your Gut

When first diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, we are told how we will feel. Doctors and nurses come in and tell us what we may experience when we are faced with a low or a high blood sugar, but that’s about it. Mind you most of these medical professionals are NOT Diabetic, which means that they don’t truly know what Diabetes “feels” like. Not only are we not able to fully know what symptoms of T1D feel like until we experience them on our own, but we are never actually mentally prepared for how life is going to feel like from now on, from the good times, to the not so good moments. How we know how Diabetes is exactly like is by simply living with it and experiencing all the possible situations on our own time.

For example, in the hospital, a doctor would typically educate you on low and high symptoms (shakiness, headache, fast heartbeat, etc.), but that doctor doesn’t actually know what it genuinely feels like. When we are faced with our first low blood sugar as a Type 1 Diabetic, it can be a real shocker in the sense that we are not expecting it to feel the way it actually does.

I can remember my very first low when I was essentially “on my own”. I had just gone back to school (6th grade) two weeks after being diagnosed and hadn’t fully understood how important carbohydrates were when on Insulin. I went to lunch that day and didn’t like the bread on the sandwich I was eating, so I decided to not eat the bread and eat the protein inside the sandwich instead, as I thought I was being healthy. Of course, shortly after lunch and having not eaten the carbs I took Insulin for, I had a very bad low. The sweats, shaking, and fast heart beat were so prominent in that low of mine and I needed a friend to walk me to the nurse’s office, where I was given some apple juice to quickly bring my sugar levels back up. Scary, I know, but that was necessary as I then learned why this happened and how to prevent it from happening again.

Trusting your gut is key in living with T1D. You may have just checked your blood sugar minutes before and had a good number. Minutes later, you feel a bit funny but don’t think you could have gone low (or high) in such a short amount of time, but then, you do. You listen to your gut and trust your feelings and, you guessed it, a low. Had you not trusted your own gut, you could have been in for a really bad experience. This can happen in a variety of different situations as a Type 1 Diabetic. You can feel low symptoms when you are actually just fine. You can feel as though your blood sugar is high, when actually, you’re low. Knowing your body and how you feel when certain situations arise can be the thing that saves your life.

Nowadays, we have Continuous Glucose Monitors (CGMs) that tell us what our blood sugars are and where they’re headed, which can give us peace of mind as we go about our day, but can also create anxiety as we can see when we may be going severely low or high at a bad time (work, school, meetings, etc.). Though we can see our blood sugar readings being updated every few minutes, we should not rely on the level of accuracy 100% of the time. Often times, the readings on our CGMs can be way off. That is why we must trust our gut and know our bodies. Every now and then, I may find my CGM readings to be about 100 points off of what my actual blood sugar is, which is extremely dangerous. That just comes to show, always be the one in control of your body and your feelings. You can only depend on yourself to determine how you are truly feeling, and when you do, there is a level of peace in knowing that you were able to catch a bad Diabetic feeling before it caused an emergency.

 So always remember, YOU are in control of how you feel. Not your CGM, not your Doctor, but you.

Live well,

 

Dave

Real Talk with Dave: The Lifesavers of Type 1 Diabetes

Over time, there have been several breakthroughs in medical technology that have made living with Type 1 Diabetes almost a breeze! From Insulin Pumps to Continuous Glucose Monitors (CGMs), these devices have made the battle of blood sugar regulation so much more bearable and practical in living life on the go. We’ve all seen them and most of us even own these devices, but I’m pretty sure we can all agree that they have made living with Type 1 way less stressful. Going to school, work, and even on vacations just got a whole lot easier!

When the idea first comes to a newly diagnosed patient about getting an Insulin Pump, for example, it may seem scary to have a device attached to them 24/7, but give it a week or two and most of the time, people sure fall in love with them. I can’t express how much I love wearing a Pump and Dexcom sensor, they have made my crazy schedule as a student so much more manageable than before when I used to take Insulin injections before every meal and having to rely on finger sticks alone, not knowing which direction my blood sugars were actually going in. They have definitely given me peace of mind in which I no longer have to worry about going low or high in class, at work, or even as I’m driving around town, as I am always in the know of what is going on with my blood sugars thanks to my CGM. If I go out to eat with friends, for example, it has become very convenient to quickly enter in how many carbs I’m eating into my Pump and I let the insulin drip in me as I enjoy quality time with some very special people.

There is always the fear of a Pump site ripping out or having it scrubbed off in the shower, but no need to worry, these sites we wear are just like bandaids (that give Insulin and monitor blood sugars!), so if they do come off, the pain is usually little and is very easy to re-apply a new site! I can remember countless times in which I have had sites come loose in the pool or shower, ripped off for no apparent reason, and even once I was playing with my dog and he accidentally knocked my Dexcom right off my arm (no worries, Comet!), but it just takes a few little incidences like these to help prepare us for the worst. Now a days, there are so many different medical tapes and glues that can help keep our sites on for the 3-7 days of wearing them. There are now a variety of companies, such as @PumpPeelz and @GrifGrips, who are aware of the struggles of keeping our sites on, that they have created fun patches with some really cool designs, allowing us Diabetics to show our style and decorate Diabetes!

In all seriousness, however, Diabetes is a full time job that requires around-the-clock care and attention, so having these so called “lifesavers” is so convenient and helpful to us in the long run as they assist us in living our best life with T1D. They can be the very devices we need to help us in an emergency of knowing what our blood sugars are and giving ourselves Insulin if needed. Diabetes is tough, but with these incredible medical breakthroughs that we’ve all been blessed with, the game of Type 1 Diabetes has been changed for the better and has allowed us to keep on fighting! Not only have they helped us, the Diabetics, but they have also helped parents, teachers, roommates, etc. as they too are given the peace of mind that we are just fine, as T1D can be a mess sometimes, thankfully though, we have these devices to help us all out!

So go ahead, live your best life and don’t look back, unless you forgot your Insulin Pump or CGM, then you should definitely look back and go get them!

Live well,

Dave

LBNN Application Deadline is this Friday!

Greetings from the Nordic Life Science Days!

We are looking for the best patient entrepreneurs within diabetes consumer and medical devices, or healthcare information technology. Apply to be one of the ten finalists who will travel to Copenhagen, Denmark and attend the 2017 Lyfebulb-Novo Nordisk Innovation Summit and compete for monetary prizes!

Since applications close this Friday, September 15, we reflect upon the concept of patient entrepreneurship.

These people are exceptional individuals and they inspire others to an extent I have never seen before in the chronic disease community. They may not be climbing mountains, or cycling across the country, but instead, they are solving problems that we all encounter when living with a chronic condition.

Instead of waiting for others to help them as a patient, the patient entrepreneur finds solutions to everyday problems that are not always apparent to the mind of a scientist or business person, and they go out and start a business, build a product, and change the future for themselves and others! This can be done by finding a way to register when and how much insulin was dosed, bringing together people with chronic disease through technology and inventive models to change behavior, improving the look and feel of everyday medical devices, or just making certain items we eat or drink healthier and tastier.

This brings to market better products and it inspires all patients to take charge of their health and be less complacent – be less of a victim and more of a problem solver.

At Lyfebulb we ask people to take charge, to live beyond their disease or condition, and to utilize the patient experience when identifying solutions.

In contrast to organizations who monitor and describe patient experiences (all sensor companies and patient platforms), we offer solvers and solutions.

We inspire people to Live Lyfe – that is why our slogan is

“Turn Your Lyfe On”

How I Accepted My Type 1 Diabetes

My name is Rebecca Sellin. I’m 22 years old and I live in a city called Jönköping in Sweden. Right now I’m studying to become a pre-school teacher at Jönköping University. I’ve been living with type 1 diabetes for the past 6 years, but sometimes it feels like even longer, because I can’t even remember how it’s like to live a “normal” life.

But what is a normal life anyway? Everyone is struggling with something, T1D is my struggle.

But I have decided to see the positive sides of it. I love to have an active and healthy lifestyle, but I don’t like to be treated differently because of my T1D, and that’s why I hid my condition for some years, because I didn’t want people to see me as a weak person.

My diabetes was discovered when I was involved in a minor car accident in my neighborhood when I was 16 years old. Thank God I wasn’t badly hurt, but in the hospital a doctor asked me if I had diabetes, since my blood glucose was really high. I told them that I didn’t have diabetes. At that point, I didn’t know anything about diabetes, except I had a lot of prejudices about it. In hindsight, I can see I had all the classic symptoms such as thirst, weight loss and lack of energy. I had to stay in the hospital for almost a week to learn about T1D and how to manage it. I’m still learning new things and it has taken me 6 years to accept my condition. Diabetes is like a puzzle where some pieces are always missing, and you can’t see the whole picture. It’s like a full time job where you get no vacations, not even on your birthday.

I used to always take my insulin shots in the bathroom, or hide my insulin pump. But eventually I learned that I made my disease even harder when trying to hide it from everyone and trying to fit in. I felt so alone, since I didn’t know anyone with diabetes, and I knew I just had to meet other people with diabetes that fully understands what it’s like. My family and friends are super supportive, but they will never fully understand what it’s like to always have diabetes, and constantly be thinking about it. So I decided to start a group on Facebook to organize meetings and be able to meet with other T1Ds in my city. We meet up a couple of times a month and do stuff together like bowling, taking walks and going to cafes. This has been so helpful for me in the process of accepting my disease, and I can only thank my diabetes for meeting all my new friends, or my diabuddies, as I like to call them.

Also, I’m really happy for the diabetes community that I found on Instagram. To be able to meet people who go through the same things on a daily basis as I do gives me energy to keep on fighting every single day. Together we are stronger and can support each other. My goal is to inspire others who live with T1D, and to never let diabetes stop me from doing what I want in my life and chasing my dreams. I’ve grown so much since my diagnosis, and I’m so excited to see what life will bring.

A month ago I got a diabetes tattoo with my diabuddie, Elin. The tattoo says “I am greater than my highs and lows” which is a great reminder everyday when struggling with your blood glucose.


Follow Becca on Instagram @type1becca

Accepting Diabetes And Using Social Media For Positivity

My name is Rowena. I am a professional dancer/ choreographer/ instructor based in Liverpool, UK. I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in 2014, 2 days before my 24

I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in 2014, 2 days before my 24thbirthday. During the lead up to diagnosis, I had all of the classic symptoms of diabetes such as extreme thirst, serious lack of energy, weight loss, unexplained hunger, and loss of strength. I looked very worn too, but because I was training a lot (around 20 hours per week), I delayed going to the doctor because I just thought I might be overworking myself and not getting enough sleep. However, when it got to the point of me drinking about 7 liters of water a day, I went to the doctor. I told her all of the symptoms I was experiencing and she said I could be diabetic. It was strange hearing that as I had so many preconceived ideas and misconceptions about what diabetes was – including inactivity and poor diet. I wondered how I could be diabetic when I was so fit and healthy. I mean, I was full-time dance training at the time, with a good diet and good general overall health.

Two weeks after taking multiple daily injections, I started insulin pump therapy and have not looked back since. I am still as active as ever and I actually feel like I have much more control of diabetes when I am at my busiest. Oftentimes, I collect data about my own experiences of living an active life with diabetes, and I then translate this information into easy to follow tips, published on my website www.type1active.com. This not only helps me to log my progress with my management and fitness, it is also a great way to help other diabetics learn about exercise and nutrition. The website also contains an online training portal that provides goal specific training programs for diabetics around the world. I find great pleasure in helping others achieve their goals whilst showing them that type 1 diabetes does not need to stand in the way of living an active, full life.

Overall, I think attitude plays an important role in diabetes. We can complain that we have it, or we can accept it and use that energy to find ways to work around it. For instance, from the get-go, I have been, and still am, so grateful for social media; Instagram and Twitter. It has connected me to so many other diabetics who inspire me to stay positive. I learn from them and they learn from me, which is what the management of this disease requires… research, trial, and error.

I hope to connect with you all soon. Keep an eye out for more fitness videos.

Rowena x

Using Diabetes To Inspire Others

Diabetes has been a constant in my life for the past 9 years. It’s been a rough and bumpy few years, and I can honestly say that this disease has really shaped me to be the person that I am today.

This disease is real. It has no breaks, vacations, or a pause button. Since the day I was diagnosed, I remember sitting in my hospital bed and my mom telling me how I will use this disease to help others, but at the time I didn’t think I could do that task. I struggled as a young teen dealing with Diabetes and wanting to feel “normal”. Growing up, I always felt like I had this thing that I could never get rid of. I wanted so badly to go out with friends and feel safe knowing that I won’t have a low blood sugar or have to lug my meter case around everywhere I went, and have to explain to them what I had in it. I remember feeling like I wanted to just give up. I ended up slacking a lot on my health. I didn’t check my blood sugar as frequently as I should have. I didn’t count carbs the way I used to. I seemed to have lost all means of being a Type 1 Diabetic. As a normal Diabetic does, I went to the Endocrinologist and received my life-changing news.

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I had just gotten my Hemoglobin A1C blood test and the Diabetes educator sat me down to tell me that my blood sugar average had been very high for a long time and if I didn’t gain control of my numbers, I could loose my vision, have arm and leg amputations, or have heart problems. Since that day, something clicked in me and I decided I needed to make a difference in my life and in the lives of those that I came in contact with on a day to day basis. I began making better choices in what I ate, exercised more frequently, and took initiative in dealing with this chronic disease. Shortly after, I went for a visit to the Endo and I began to improve more and more each time. That motivated me to use my positivity and excitement for improvement to create something that I could share with others going through the same thing or something similar as me. That’s when I got the idea to create @type1livabetic on Instagram.

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I chose to create something that I can use my love and passion for photography as well as my love for sharing positivity in Type 1 Diabetes. Since then, I feel as though I have really grown as a Type 1 Diabetic and became a part of this wonderful growing community. I am so blessed and privileged to do what I get to do every day. My goal is to inspire others with my disease so that they know that they can do whatever it is they put their mind to.

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This is why I am here, to be a voice in the Diabetic community in hope of one day being freed from this life altering disease! One day at a time! 


If you would like to share your story with Lyfebulb and our readers, please e-mail contact@lyfebulb.com.

Becoming a Chronic Patient

26 June, 2009

I had woken up with Michael Jacksons’ “Ben” streaming out the radio. The news of his death had reached South Africa. I wrote my last mid-year examination of Grade 10 and celebrated by watching the newly released “The Hangover”. While we discussed the obsceneness of the film, I received a not-so-average phone call from my mom who had taken my little brother to see a doctor.

“Tracy, your brother has been diagnosed with type one diabetes”

Sure, my brother David had looked exceptionally unwell, stick thin and couch ridden, a far cry from his athletic build and energetic character. But what on earth is type one diabetes (T1D)?

“So what does that mean? Does he need antibiotics?” I replied.

Little did I know the whirlwind that was about to hit my brother and my family. We all grappled with the concept of T1D. What do you feed a type one? Is sugar bad? Insulin injections? What is insulin? Daily monitoring of blood sugars? We were a family unit exceptionally confused and desperate to help David through this diagnosis, but not fully understanding how.

David had gone from carefree 14-year-old to being his own doctor and primary caregiver- administering his medication every day.  He singularly experienced crippling low blood sugars when injecting excess insulin and the exhaustion of high sugars when he did not take enough. He was alone with these feelings as we could only try to understand and help where we could.

The integration of diabetes into an individual’s life and further more into a family’s life is challenging with mental, emotional and physical hurdles. Education regarding T1D came through websites, the endocrinologist, courses, and books, but more potently- through the experience living with a T1. We learned together through trial and error. We now knew and understood the symptoms, lifestyle of consequences of this chronic illness. (That most definitely does not require antibiotics, thank you Tracy of ‘09.)

At least, we all thought we had the subject waxed.

20 October, 2013

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I stared at my skeletal body in the mirror, my 20-year-old, incapable and broken body. My body and mind were permanently exhausted and constantly failing me. My bloodshot eyes searched and traced my bones. My head was surging and nausea scratched at my dry throat. Surely not, I thought.

With a knotted stomach and shattered threshold, I asked David to test my blood sugar. The countdown of the tester was excruciating, how could 8 seconds feel like an eternity? The monitor greeted me with a beep and a cheeky “HI”. Simple as that, I was diagnosed with type one diabetes. The tears flooded my eyes and streamed across my face.

My heart felt an incredible amount all at once.

It broke and ached.

It felt immense relief finally knowing why I was sick.

It broke again, for now I needed to break my parents’ hearts.

It sang that my brother and I were now a team.

I went from standing on the outside of T1D, curiously and helplessly peering in at my brother, to stepping in, right by his side with my own T1D diagnosis. I watched David tackle it for four years, expressing my sympathy and support. Now I was fully thrust into a position of empathy – I now knew what he felt.

With 10 years of exposure to T1D from David’s diagnosis to my own, I have felt the obvious lack of knowledge surrounding T1D in society. We don’t know the symptoms and we cannot seem to recognize the lethal combination of exhaustion, excessive thirst and bathroom breaks, unintended weight loss, blurry vision, irritability, and nausea. I was a second-year medical student, with a T1D brother yet it still took me months, to acknowledge my symptoms, to recognize my disease and act accordingly.

The thought that I possibly had T1D did flash across my mind in my last weeks leading up to my diagnosis but I kept dismissing my symptoms:

I am exhausted from being so busy.

I am thirsty and losing weight because I am doing Bikram Yoga.

I am crying, angry and frustrated each day because it has been a tough year.

I am simply burnt out.

The symptoms are problematic as they can be explained by most stressors in modern daily activities, which effectively delay an important diagnosis. Further impairing prompt and vital healthcare falls upon the shoulders of health-care professionals. The T1D diagnosis is often missed. It is a tragic oversight as it can be suspected by simply taking a patient’s history and performing affordable bedside tests. A urine dipstick or a finger prick glucose test can often scream T1D. The delay and failure of diagnosing T1D carries a heavy price, such as the heart-breaking stories of little Kycie Jai Terry (5), Claire Taylor (17) and Nicola Rigby (26), all losing their lives to undiagnosed T1D.

Living with this chronic illness has made me acutely aware of spreading my knowledge and insight into T1D. This inspired me to start my own Instagram account, type1tracy. Diabetes has enriched my approach in my medical studies, as I have become the chronic patient. It has made me mindful, grateful and present. Accepting my diagnosis, I have achieved more than imaginable and am blessed with appropriate medical health care. It has made me strive to be the best doctor I can be.

If you have T1D, you are empowered with knowledge. You never know whose life you may change by injecting your insulin in public, sharing your diagnosis, your symptoms, and your experiences. Above all, you can change lives and your own, by fully embracing type one diabetes – all while being unapologetically you.

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