To be honest. It was a friend.
I mean personally, I’d found sleep hugely difficult to get some nights with just a blanket on my chest. It’s hard to explain to fully lunged people, that concept, of just how trapped you must feel.
I currently hover between 65 and 75% lung function.
But a friend of mine is a cystic Fibrosis (a genetic lung condition that takes too many too young) and popular YouTuber. She sits at 30% I can only imagine what life, particularly sleep must be like for her…
I realised a simple invention here could help her out. And I decided to make it a reality.
Aside from being a medical student and researcher and ex cancer-patient, I’ve also got a decent understanding of business, particularly of start-ups. This is from starting up another social enterprise, PlayWell (I was admitted into the world renowned Founder Institute accelerator for this), which you’ll see also making waves soon too, learning actively through reading my mum’s old MBA books and going to meet-ups and interacting with amazing connections and people I’ve met in my years of volunteering, writing/speaking, and business, including mutliple C level directors of million and even billion dollar companies, the world over.
Check out my widely known blog – Musings of a Med Student Patient – at its new home:
I saw a huge opportunity here. A huge market, where we could slip in with a much better solution, that fixes many more problems. The adjustable slant on a wedge pillow? That could also be used to power hospital beds more efficiently. A hospital bed that could only move up or down? Why not something better?
As I read through the medical literature, more and more problems jumped out at me with hospital beds. I saw more and more people benefiting from the wedge pillows. You can read all about how these do so and the numbers on our about page.
But here’s the thing with me.
I don’t wanna do any of this for money.
I mean it’s not even because I’m a bleeding heart, though I’ve always wanted to do something where I could help people my whole life (hence medicine). To me, it only seems fair that when things like this come along, we make them give back. I think, hell, I know that investing in people and giving needn’t just be something we do out of good will. I know it benefits us too. I wrote an essay on it for Bill Gates’ essay competition that’ll likely come up here next. Personally… I don’t know how I’d be able to spend crazy amounts of money anyways.
Hence, this isn’t a regular old business I’m running here. It’s a social enterprise. An entity that’ll strive to donate 100% of its profits to charity. It’s not easy to do that without losing some part of your business in order to raise funds. That’s why charities find it hard to grow. But if we can, we will!
So where will that money go?
Well, to many places, if we’re lucky enough to start making a lot of money soon!
We wanna give a good chunk of cash every year to some of the most effective charities in the world – those rated highly on givewell.org.
We wanna give a nice piece to other organisations that do great work, such as Engineers Without Borders who are helping us, and hopefully going to remain long term partners through this journey. They love to work with people who wanna help people in the developing world and the developed one, so we’re a perfect match (our bed frame in particular can help reduce hospitals’ burdens in developing settings in particular).
If we can, we’d also like to fund medical research. Perhaps other start-ups that’ll also be promising in this space or others to help keep making money for charities without having to rely on peoples’ donations to survive.
But in these early stages, as I mentioned above… We will likely need your help to succeed.
How can you help? In many ways!
Check out our products page – where you can get some funny shirts, the current wedge pillow (which you can get for yourself, a loved one, get a version which you can trade in later, when we start churning out the fully adjusting wedge pillow, or even donate to someone who can’t afford one) or donate to us directly!
We have a kickstarter coming up in a few weeks! Even if you can’t chip in to that, you can share it out to others who can for us!
And speaking of – if you guys wanna stay involved and be in the loop, feel free to join us in our Facebook group or our email list where we post regular updates on what’s going on! Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you wanna volunteer skills, or if you have any opportunities or ins with people (we’ll take all the help we can get!) too.
And otherwise, just be good people. Because in the end, that’s doing just as much good as what all of this will!