Society, philanthropic organizations, and insurance companies often dismiss individuals combating chronic illnesses because their pain tends to be “invisible” and/or incurable. Several Harvard students, some who are diagnosed with their own chronic conditions, came to this realization and set out to create a service that would directly benefit such individuals.
In April 2016, they launched iCanHelp. iCanHelp’s mission is to provide free, empathetic help and companionship to individuals of all ages who struggle with chronic illness or disability. iCanHelp is a website (and soon to be app) where individuals can sign-up to give or receive help. When individuals visit the iCanHelp website, they create a personalized profile and enter their location and upcoming availabilities. Matches are then made based on two criteria. The first criterion is that the helper and helpee’s availabilities overlap. The second, vital, criterion is that the helper be asked to travel no more than 15 minutes (based on their preferred method of of transportation) to the helpee’s location. Once a match is made, both parties are contacted and introduced to one another. The helpee can ask for companionship and help with tasks such as: grocery shopping, packing, basic tidying, food preparation, and laundry. However, the helper is only asked to complete tasks that they feel comfortable doing.
After the match-date has come and gone, both the helper and helpee can rate their experience, leave feedback, and enter their new availabilities!
Funded by Boston, MA (July 2016)