Health News

Chemo101 aims to deliver needed cancer support and advice, Pepsi grant finalist

By April MacIntyre Sep 3, 2010, 1:06 GMT

Actor Michael Douglas recently announced that he has cancer, after doctors could not pinpoint the source of his chronic sore throat, and months went by before his tumor was detected.

Douglas has just completed his first round of chemotherapy, and he is blessed with an amazing support group, financial stability and all the best doctors.

But what if you aren’t part of Hollywood royalty and have been diagnosed with this deadly disease?  Chemo 101 wants to help people who have been delivered the "Big C" news.

Chemo101 needs your vote HERE

Erika Hanson Brown did everything she should have to avoid cancer. When the 58-year-old knew something wasn’t quite right with her body, she immediately when to a doctor, and then a second and third doctor.

After 2 years of examinations, the best they could come up with was that she was either anemic or had IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). When it was finally diagnosed correctly, it turns out she had final-stage colon cancer. In a matter of days she had surgery, followed by 6 months of intense chemotherapy and a full-year of recovery.

Today, she’s healthy. Unfortunately, she can’t say the same about her finances. Choices she made in her treatment cost her financial well-being, sending her into bankruptcy.

In hindsight and with the information she now knows about chemotherapy, she would have done it differently.

Erika’s story is all too common, say Kristin Gustafson, founder of Chemo101 ( More than 1.5 million people are diagnosed with cancer annually; of those who undergo chemotherapy treatment, nearly 40% wind up declaring bankruptcy.

Unfortunately, when they need it most, patients who are first diagnosed with cancer rarely have easy access to objective information about their treatment options and costs.

Gustafson felt so strongly about filling this vacuum of knowledge,  she and her business partner Kerry Clem left their high-paying jobs with an oncology pharmaceutical firm to begin a new organization dedicated to empowering patients with treatment and financial information about chemotherapy. Chemo101 is a platform for “resources solutions” – providing the consumer with essential facts about chemotherapy treatment options, drug protocols, insurance benefits and so-called “hidden” hospital costs.

Kristin and Kerry need your help.  Chemo101 has been selected as a finalist in the Pepsi Refresh Project, which awards grants to support great ideas that “Refresh the World.”

Chemo101 is competing for a $250,000 Refresh Grant and votes are the key to winning. (Voting will occur between September 1-30, and votes for Chemo101 can be sent daily to support their cause.)

The grant will assist Chemo101 realize its goal of providing the objective information that Erika Hanson, and the millions of other chemotherapy patients, so badly need.


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