"Skip the flowers and give the gift of support to those experiencing a health related hardship."
I am Megan Brown, Diem Brown’s sister. Everyone grieves in different ways. However, I believe we all have one universal mission after the loss of a friend or loved one and that is to carry on their legacy and to keep their memory alive. For some it’s planting a tree, or buying a bench in their name, for others it’s running a charity in their honor. For my family and me it’s following through with Diem’s life passion which was helping patients connect to those that care through her inspiration, MedGift.
If you followed Diem’s story you know she came up with the concept of MedGift after being diagnosed with Ovarian cancer. She sat in her hospital room surrounded by friends, family and hundreds of dollars’ worth of flowers, balloons and treats. She couldn’t help but think of the costly and stressful road ahead and whether the support she had in the hospital would follow her journey as a patient. The sad truth is that many times it doesn’t. Inevitably, the initial rally from friends and family will wane. They go back to school, work, their own problems and lives, as life keeps moving. All the while, the patient undergoing the hardship is still suffering, adapting to their new reality of hospital rooms, appointments, bills, piles of paperwork, and pain while riding an emotional roller coaster. More often than not the patient is too proud or uncomfortable to reach out for help, whether it a physical, emotional or financial need. That’s where MedGift comes in. Diem wanted a place for the patient to vent their feelings, a place where they could list their needs, schedules, and updates, to not feel like a burden and always have support at their fingertips.
I believe in MedGift, not just because it’s part of who my sister was but because my family and I needed it during some of the darkest hours, days and months of our lives. MedGift is support, in every sense of the word. I look forward to the future of MedGift, and to reading about as many of you as I can through the campaigns you start.
Diem Brown, in her own words
While Diem lost her fight on November 14th, 2014 her dream lives on, please learn about MedGift's vision through her own words...
"Hi, my name is Diem Brown. During my first bout of Ovarian Cancer in 2005, I realized how hopeless and isolated one can become while going through a hardship."
"I was an entertainment reporter at the time and wanted to get a real looking human wig so I could continue working without letting anyone know I was undergoing chemotherapy for Ovarian Cancer. I had no idea that human hair wigs costs were in the thousands! At the same time, all of my girlfriends were asking how they could help me and I wanted to say "I need money for a wig" but I felt too silly to ask them for money."
"That was until I kept getting email after email from my girlfriends with their wedding and baby registry links. In an instant, I realized that we celebrate and support every life milestone except when one becomes ill or is going through a hardship. We celebrate the birth of a child with a baby registry, we celebrate the joining of two lives with a wedding registry... why not create a site where we could also celebrate the fight for a life going through a hardship with a support registry."
"MedGift was born because I know how isolated one can feel when it seems you are going through a tough journey alone. I wanted to create a home where people can feel how powerful a support community can be and bring an element of celebration of that fighting spirit in each of us when life seems to throw you an unmanageable curve-ball."
"My educational background is in communications and journalism. My skill set of investigation lead me to diving into the world of programming and learning website design and user experience compatibility since 2005."
"I currently write a weekly blog for People Magazine as their health and women's issue contributor as it is my passion for those who struggle to know that they are not alone and to help show them a way to regain the hope that helps us to fight!"
"My second ovarian cancer battle in 2012-2013 gave me more insight into what someone needs when they feel their world is crumbling in around them. It also gave me even more passion and inspiration to create a complete support website that can help someone who is struggling on every level: emotionally, physically and financially! MedGift is a site for you, so please let us know your comments and ideas on how we can better help you through your hardship journey!"
Jim has a broad range of experience in healthcare information technology and has spent the majority of his career leading the ideation, development and support of solutions that have helped hospitals, physicians and pharmacies provide better service to their patients. His priorities took on new meaning when he was diagnosed as having MS a little less than 15 years ago. He was now one of their patients living with a chronic condition and the saying "walk a mile in my shoes" took on new meaning. He felt he had to keep his condition a secret from the corporate world he lived in for fear it would be a sign of weakness. But eventually the stress from trying to hide his MS became overbearing and he finally found the courage to put a label on why he was having trouble walking or why he had to use two hands to hold a cup of coffee.
To Jim having MS is not a weakness. It is merely an inconvenience that most people just don't understand. His neurologist plays a key role in his medical care but more important is the support he gets from his family and friends. Because they care. Because they want to help. They just needed a way for him to tell them how. So while he cannot cure this horrible disease he knows firsthand how MedGift can help individuals with MS or other chronic conditions until a cure is found.
Most recently Jim was the president of RelayHealth Connectivity Solutions, a business unit of McKesson Corporation. He was responsible for the operational management and strategic direction of RelayHealth's financial, clinical and consumer related lines of business as well as the associated support services provided by sales & marketing, business development, compliance, finance and human resources.
Jim joined McKesson in August 2004 as vice president of Business Performance Solutions. He previously worked for NDCHealth, where he led strategic planning, product marketing, marketing communications, and sales support activities. Prior to joining NDCHealth, he held executive leadership roles in privately held startup companies including president of Initiate Systems and sr. vicepresident of marketing and international operations at Gerber Alley. He was vice president of marketing and strategic planning at publically held First Data Corporation, Health Systems Group and a start up venture within Ernst & Young.
Jim has 30+ years experience in healthcare information systems and services, and an extensive background in domestic and international operations, sales and marketing, M&A, product management and finance. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from Bowling Green State University.
Jim and his wife Deb have been married for 37 years. They have three beautiful daughters that have blessed them with four grandchildren… and counting.
Joe has over 20 years experience in business analytics, software product development, and product marketing for companies such as American Express, McKesson, and Novant Health. In addition, Joe has played key roles in software and analytics startups including Initiate Systems which was purchased by IBM in 2010 and Applied Revenue Analytics which he founded in 2005 and sold in 2011.
His interest in using the web and social networks as tools to help those undergoing medical and related events began in 2009 when he created a web site to help a friend raise money to cover the cost of his son's alternative medicine cancer treatments. His passion revolves around the importance of service and having a servant's heart.
Joe graduated from Appalachian State University where he received his masters in applied mathematics with concentrations in computer science, statistics and physics. After graduating Joe also taught in the mathematics department there for several years.
He is married to Dawn Roark Hewitt, the love of his life and they have three very different but equally great kids: Molly Katherine, Joe Jr. and Hamilton Brown. Joe loves to play tennis, is addicted to yoga and rides his motorcycle whenever he can.
"I want MedGift to be the most comprehensive single source of support that you can count on when you or someone close experiences a health related hardship. Having friends and family coping with sudden and chronic illness, I understand how frightening, confusing and isolating these experiences can be. My hope is for MedGift to be their home and your home for inspiration, comfort, peace and healing."
Mark has 25+ years of experience leading start-up, emerging and growth oriented healthcare technology companies. Mark most recently served as Vice President of Business Development for RelayHealth, with responsibilty for strategic partnerships and acquisitions. Mark has also held several other leadership roles for startup, growth and mature companies. His focus has been developing go-to-market strategies for both new and existing products. These experiences include executive leadership positions at Initiate Systems, a technology and services startup-up which exited successfully to IBM, Premier Informatics, the healthcare analytics division of Premier Inc and Gerber Alley, a start-up healthcare information technology company that expanded from 10 to more than 600 employees during Mark's tenure. Mark began his career at Siemens Healthcare.
Mark is active in the community and in addition to MedGift, has served on the board of directors for the Sport of Giving, an organization supporting women's cancer care and prevention and The Davis Academy, the largest private K-8 school in the Southeast. He and his wife Teri live in Atlanta and have two sons, Jordan and Alex.
How many of us know of a friend or a loved one who has recently experienced difficult news concerning their health, suffers from a debilitating or chronic condition that presents on-going life challenges, or is dealing with a financial hardship as the result of a health or related problem?
Our first reaction is to say "How Can I Help?" or "What Can I Do To Help?" but the problem is most of us don't know how! So we GUESS! Or we resort to the obligatory default and send them a card or flowers. We do what we think our friend or loved one wants or wishes for and hope this meets their needs. Often the thought is appreciated, but we wish we could have known more, known better!
As the founders of MedGift, we are able to offer a safe and secure environment to connect those in need with those who care to help. We offer a respectful, caring and safe way to begin or to extend the healing process or cope with chronic conditions. We do this by providing the environment for those who choose to share their story in hopes of receiving the types of support they need most!
Our vision is to be the complete health advocacy resource for those experiencing health or related hardships and needs; providing support emotionally, physically and financially.
We will link those in need with those who care though our welcoming on-line community. MedGift is the safe place to understand how your friends and loved ones are feeling, and for you to learn how to best support them emotionally, physically, and financially, as they describe specifically how you can help them through their health or related hardship or need. We commit to remain focused on this singularity of purpose.
MedGift's founders are all tightly connected to the healthcare industry. Each share professional and personal experiences that have compelled them to join together as a team to create and offer MedGift.
Our work at MedGift is driven by our WECARE core values and shared principles. WECARE thinking is at the center of every decision we make. Living out these values is what shapes the MedGift culture and keeps us true to our mission.
We present a warm and welcoming environment to those in need of our services and to those who choose to join our team
We insist on quality and challenge each other to the highest level of achievement. We will take risk because we understand that innovation and growth comes from risk. But we will not compromise quality in doing so.
We want to provide a community for those in need to connect with those who want to help. We are compassionate about providing an environment where people do not feel isolated because of their hardship but instead feel they have a community of help behind them.
We understand how important it is to do "the right thing for the right reason" and commit to transparency in our business and to be accountable to each other and our customers.
We have the utmost respect for ourselves, our colleagues and those who are kind enough to share their stories through MedGift. We respect the opinions of those who use MedGift and aim to have our ear to the ground for new ways we can provide assistance to those in need.
A positive attitude coupled with boundless enthusiasm is what you can expect from each of us. MedGift was born out of the passion to provide help to those who feel hopeless and alone. We won't stop until we have achieved our goal to create the best resource tool for those going through hardships.