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When Ashley Yesayan was diagnosed with stage II breast cancer, she knew she needed community support but didn’t have an easy way to connect with others or find resources online. With a background in venture capital investing, Yesayan decided to build OneVillage, an all-in-one platform for community connection, cancer-related product discovery and resource coordination.
OneVillage has three main components. Firstly, cancer patients have access to community groups with members who can relate to each other about their cancer journeys. Similar to a Facebook group, OneVillage’s community platform allows users to meet and chat with others and attend discussions on various topics from navigating radiation treatment to managing symptoms and side effects.
“The groups also really help patients learn to advocate for themselves when it comes to their healthcare. What we’re finding in a lot of our discussion groups, is people are like, ‘I’m having this side effect [and] my doctor said, don’t worry about it.’ And other people will chime in and say ‘No, that’s what they told me for a year and here’s what you can do.’” Yesayan told Built In in an interview. “[OneVillage is] helping people find their voice by talking to other people who’ve been through it as well.”
“[OneVillage is] helping people find their voice by talking to other people who’ve been through it as well.”
OneVillage also allows users to post updates and coordinate help and resources from their friends and family. Instead of typing out a long Facebook post or email, OneVillage allows cancer patients to share updates on their treatment. Loved ones can comment on updates within the “village” and browse wishlists for products and services the patient might need. Instead of making assumptions or giving well-intended but potentially inappropriate or useless gifts, wishlists take the guesswork out of finding products and services cancer patients actually want and need.
“The thing is, everybody wants to help but nobody knows what to do. That either leads to inaction or the cancer patient ends up getting a bunch of dead flowers, which isn’t really helpful either,” Yesayan said.
The platform can even suggest products and services based on a user’s diagnosis and community-reported information. For example, if you’re looking for a gift for someone having a mastectomy, OneVillage might suggest an after-surgery pillow or mastectomy shirt.
OneVillage also partners with a number of companies like Uber, Postmates and TaskRabbit to integrate their services into the platform. This makes it easy for someone to gift a ride to the hospital or deliver groceries to a user’s house, helping cancer patients get connected with the services they need.
“It’s not always easy to find information on cancer recovery from a non-medical need perspective,” Yesayan said. “A big part of what we have done is to help people discover the products and services that they need in line with where they are in their journey.”