As a cancer survivor, advocacy work is extremely important to me. I know firsthand how difficult hearing the words “you have cancer” can be. They are words no one wants to hear. What comes next can be even more daunting.
I remember all too well those first days after my diagnosis. I wasn’t sure what to do next, how to tell people, or even if I had entirely processed the news. I started to gather information by scouring websites, finding support groups, and reaching out to other young survivors.
After my total thyroidectomy, I felt like I had acquired a lot of knowledge about thyroid disease and cancer and wanted to put it to good use. My advocacy work began with the creation of this blog—it was an outlet for me to share my story, let my voice be heard, and a way to offer other young cancer patients and survivors hope and encouragement.
When I first found Clara Health on Instagram, I instantly knew that they were a company that I wanted to work with. Their mission is solely to help patients gain access to breakthrough clinical trials. I reached out to Lilly Stairs, the Head of Patient Advocacy at Clara, after reading about her inspiring health journey and we scheduled a time to chat by phone. I was very impressed with Clara Health’s mission and patient-centric approach to health care.
Clara Health is based in Boston, Massachusetts and helps patients navigate clinical trials. For most people, understanding the ins and outs of clinical trials can be difficult, but when your life is on the line, having a place to turn to like Clara for help can be the lifeline patients need.
Their easy-to-navigate website allows patients to search for clinical trials based on medical condition, city, age, sex, and other factors. Patients can also create a profile and have the team at Clara find studies to suit them. To test out the efficacy of their site, I typed in thyroid under the medical condition tab and was greeted with 258 studies that Clara picked for me—a few were located mere miles away from my location.
Clara Health has thought of everything from the patient’s perspective. With their Clara Guides, patients can get the answers they need to all different types of concerns. From questions such as “what are clinical trials like?” to “where can I stay during a clinical trial that takes place out-of-state?,” the answers that patient’s need are just a few clicks away.
I was excited when Lilly asked me to be a Breakthrough Crew Ambassador for Clara to help raise awareness for clinical trials. I hope that through these clinical trials, and with the assistance that Clara is offering, patients will have the necessary tools to make educated and informed decisions regarding their health and health care needs.
We all should be our own advocates when it comes to our health. But it is reassuring to see a company that wants to stand beside us on our wellness journey.
I am still over on Clara’s Instagram today in support of Thyroid Disease Awareness Month, so if there are any thyroid-related topics you would like to chat about, please join me at @clarahealth.
*Images via Clara Health
Kathrine Eldridge says
So happy that you are a member of this and sharing your story with others! Clinical trials are so important on making strides, especially in cancer. My late husband did one and it gave him another 6 months. Will be following you this weekend for sure on Insta!
Vanessa Steil says
Thank you for sharing that, Kathrine! Clinical trials are so important and can really make a difference for patients.