An new online platform aiming to provide support for families affected by cancer has been launched.
CancerPal offers guidance on caring for people with cancer, as well as providing hard-to-find products and support boxes to help with symptoms.
Based in the Welsh Innovation Centre for Enterprise (Welsh ICE) on Caerphilly Business Park, the platform was launched in November after founder Jo Riley’s own family’s struggles with cancer.
Ms Riley’s mother, Lynne, passed away in 2018, having been diagnosed with secondary breast cancer in 2015.
Ms Riley said: “It was a really difficult time. I found that whilst there was support available for those suffering from the disease, there wasn’t much available for friends and family.
“I found it really difficult to find answers to specific questions. It took hours of searching through forums and websites before I could find the answer I needed. I remember thinking that it shouldn’t be this difficult.
“As a family, we found it very tough dealing with the diagnosis, so I decided to put a support box together for my mum, with little keepsakes and comforting items. It made a huge difference to her and I know she really appreciated the thought, as well as the items.“
She added: “I decided that if I found it tough seeking help and advice, then there were probably plenty of other people who were also facing the challenge.
“I remembered the difference the support box made to my mum, so I decided to create CancerPal so that people would have a place to learn about the support out there, as well as purchase items that would directly help those undergoing treatment for cancer.
“We’ve been blown away by the response CancerPal has had, which has emphasised the need for this kind of support. We’ve even had requests for boxes to be sent to the United States.”
CancerPal has been supported through the Town Square Accelerator programme.
Town Square Spaces founder Mandy Weston said: “We’re pleased that CancerPal has started so strongly. The business has begun trading and has some great feedback – which is entirely down to the hard work and vision of its founder Jo.
“The Accelerator programme is designed to help businesses that are looking to grow quickly but also to help them export across the world. With CancerPal, Jo has already begun to do that, and hopefully, as the platform grows, she can reach more people and help develop the business into a community and a vital resource.”