People who share the same health problems often look for each other online. TransplantLyfe, a new online platform for transplant candidates and recipients, will make those supportive meet-ups a little easier.
TransplantLyfe.com invites visitors to set up an account to be part of a safe, supportive, positive community for people receiving transplants and family and friends in their support system. The site, created by Lyfebulb in collaboration with CSL Behring, offers resources, a find-a-friend option and forums, where you can find people discussing hot topics like getting a COVID-19 vaccine.
Dr. Karin Hehenberger founded Lyfebulb, a platform for various online patient communities, and is herself a transplant recipient. Hehenberger, who received both a donated kidney and a pancreas, has already posted her own comments on the TransplantLyfe site. A community member asked if everyone gets nervous before getting blood tests.
“I was supernervous in the beginning,” Hehenberger replied. “And I still am nervous waiting for my labs when I do my visits – in fact, I call multiple times to get my data so I can relax!”
Relatively few people receive an organ transplant each year, so it’s hard for people to meet someone local who’s going through the same thing. The COVID-19 pandemic created another barrier, making TransplantLyfe a timely idea.
The platform was designed to address the emotional needs of transplant recipients – something that can get overlooked amid the highly complex medical journey. Recipients of a donated organ experience complex emotions post-surgery and are at risk of anxiety and depression.
It’s something CSL Behring wanted to be a part of, said Kevin Kovaleski, CSL Behring’s Vice President of Global Commercial Development for Transplant. The biotech company is researching potential new treatments in transplant medicine and wants to be a part of solutions that address the community’s unmet needs, he said.
“We welcome this opportunity to help change the way that transplantation is managed and cared for,” Kovaleski said.
Patients need patients, Hehenberger said. Partnering with CSL Behring “was pivotal in developing this platform that will serve the needs of thousands of transplant patients across the country,” she said.
In addition to creating online communities, Lyfebulb has a track record of organizing innovation challenges for several serious diseases. The challenges seek out-of-the-box ideas from people who are living with the conditions and their loved ones. The 2021 Innovation Challenge for transplant recipients offers a $25,000 top prize and a winner will be announced May 13.