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Virtual cancer support: GRYT Health fills need for remote connection during pandemic and beyond


GRYT Health is a virtual cancer organization that was started and is run by cancer patients, survivors, caregivers and researchers. Approximately 80% of their staff has personally experienced cancer. 

A GRYT Health Community member said being involved with GRYT Health was her saving grace during her cancer treatments. “Even before the pandemic, going through cancer treatments can be extremely isolating,” she said.

GRYT Health offered a connection to the outside world.

“Not only are you trying to avoid unnecessary exposure to things like the flu, but even common bacteria and sinus infections can have a devastating effect on a cancer patient’s health. Going through hospitalizations, rehab facility stays and chemo during fall and winter as a single person who lives alone, I was very cut off from friends and family. Video communications were not very utilized when I was going through treatment. I was continually nauseous, vomited frequently and was too weak to do anything outside of my treatments,” she said in an interview with the West River Eagle.

GRYT Health (pronounced “grit”) is passionate about supporting one another and building each other and the cancer industry up. The organization fosters honest conversation, embraced vulnerability, and the encourages the sharing of stories and resources; all regardless of the type of cancer diagnosis someone may have. 

If you are facing a cancer diagnosis or caring for someone going through cancer, know you are not alone. GRYT Health works hard to foster a diverse and accepting community online and encourages anyone surviving or co-surviving cancer to join in their conversations. 

GRYT Health has a passion for advocacy. Not only do they advocate for patients, they teach patients how to advocate for themselves in the health system setting. Their work creates a bridge between oncology professionals and patients. 

All GRYT Health’s programming and resources are free to cancer patients around the world. They offer virtual support through monthly member meetups on Zoom, a blog on their website and a virtual community that is accessible through a web browser, or their app on a smart device.

Their platform also features “Vivibot,” a mental health chatbot created by adolescent and young adult cancer survivors. She is available 24/7 and provides for real-time support. The bob offers positive psychology interventions, which have been clinically proven to reduce anxiety and depression, while boosting resiliency. 

Throughout the year, GRYT Health offers many interactive virtual educational and informational events, including a Cancer Research Series and an annual Global Virtual Cancer Conference (GVCC), their largest event. This year, GRYT Health added a day to the event and will host three days of programming on November 11-13, 2021 for cancer patients, survivors, caregivers and more. 

Additionally, there is the GRYT Project which brings compensated research opportunities to patients and caregivers on an ongoing basis. The GRYT Project is an experience-based approach to research and focuses on the value of each person’s experience and the humanity that they bring.

GRYT Health works to empower the community to elevate shared experiences to educate and inform partners in the healthcare industry to improve cancer care, so that care better fits patient needs and improves outcomes. They do this through questionnaires, digital focus groups and one-on-one patient journey research. 

The GRYT Health Community member the West River Eagle interviewed said, “I found GRYT Health while laying in my hospital bed and was able to connect with others, receive support and vent about the situation I was in without needing to explain it to people who didn’t understand, justify why I was feeling that way or process what I was experiencing. When you are actively in treatment, sometimes you need distraction instead of focusing on the diagnosis more. The GRYT Health community provided everything I needed in the moment I needed it.”

The community member has participated in The GRYT Project for a specific study about the quality of life for bladder cancer patients and she spoke on a panel for GVCC 2020 and shared her views on using her voice to impact change in the cancer community. She is also slated to participate in another panel discussion for GVCC 2021 in November. 

For more information on GRYT Health and their programs, go to grythealth.com/. 

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