Hi, I'm Lauren, the founder of Humanly.
I lost my mom to cancer shortly before my 15th birthday and like so many who've experienced cancer and loss, it was an inflection point in my life that shaped me in ways I couldn’t have imagined. Over the years I came to realize that people who don’t have cancer or who haven’t lost someone to this disease don’t realize, is that it is ok to talk about it. You don’t have to avoid the topic. It is ok to grieve. It is ok to discuss potential eventualities, even if it’s not the most uplifting conversation. It is ok for the flurry of emotions—happiness, sadness, anger, and surprise—to rear their heads at inopportune times. Cancer is inopportune. Cancer, like life, just happens—without planning, without control, and without clearly defined rules. And without rules, we’re left to learn from what has worked and failed for others. It is this complexity of the human experience of living with cancer, the lack of supportive care options, and my background in human centered design that inspired me to join an oncology biotech. It was another milestone I wish I could have shared with my mother, but also a once in a lifetime opportunity to make a difference and give a voice to those who often go unheard. And my mother has very much been a part of my work thus far, helping me connect more deeply with patients, their caregivers, physicians, and nurses, to better understand the impact cancer has had on their lives. Not just in the context of treatment options or clinical outcomes, but in the context of day-to-day experiences and moments that define their lives with cancer. All of this work has revealed real human stories, needs, and connections. It has revealed vulnerable and powerful moments that we—and the medical community—seldom pay attention to or communicate. I believe that these stories will drive change and innovation in the way we approach product development in the industry at large, because it has become clear that we need to broaden the narrative around cancer.