“Despite incredible support from family and friends, I still felt alone, with nobody to turn to for answers.”
That was the motive that inspired cancer survivor Rowan to launch Spero for Cancer.
Spero is a mobile community that offers online help for cancer patients, as well as survivors and supporters. The effort is founded in the idea that a sense of community — with people who are facing, or who have faced, the same things as you — is a powerful tool in the fight against cancer.
Making Connections With Other Cancer Patients
Socializing is central to Spero’s mission.
When you register, you’re able to input information about the type of cancer you have or had, your age and location, and the system then connects you with others with similar characteristics. Through Spero’s direct-messaging capability, users can reach out to one another and share stories, offer advice or even talk about non-cancer topics for a respite from their illness.
Cancer can be an isolating disease; even with loving family and friends, patients may feel like no one truly understands the daily effects of the disease. That’s where Spero succeeds: It allows patients to make real connections with people who have experienced the same diagnosis, symptoms, fears and worries and, ideally, the same triumph over the disease.
In addition to establishing connections among people whose lives have been touched by cancer, Spero gives patients and their supporters valuable access to information about the disease.
Spero offers a robust blog section, which touches on a wide range of cancer-related topics. For instance, there are medical-focused blogs, such as one that explores the possible risk for leukemia in children conceived through assisted-reproductive technologies. There are also advice-focused posts, such as one outlining simple “hacks” for chemotherapy treatment or another on the best foods to eat while undergoing cancer treatment.
There are also blogs that tell personal stories, which fuse Spero’s social and information functions. Users can hear about the ups and downs fellow fighters or survivors faced in their journeys, told in their own voices. Post after post begins with the words “I was diagnosed with …” — a repetition that reinforces Spero’s message that no one is alone in their cancer fight.
How Can I Get Involved?
The Spero app is free and can be downloaded through iTunes. Social media users can connect with the community on Facebook or Twitter. You can also email organizers at firstname.lastname@example.org.