'Halasartan' digital space for young cancer patients wins best new launch award

Halasartan is an initiative of the Tal Center for Integrative Oncology.

January 29, 2017 17:46
3 minute read.
Halasartan logo

Halasartan logo. (photo credit: Courtesy)

The 2016 prize for best launch was awarded to the Tal Center for Integrative Oncology's Halasartan – a guidebook for everyday life.

The new digital space for young cancer patients, aged 18-45, has won the Marketing Association's winning launch award for 2016, making it the first time a non-profit organization was accorded the distinction. The project was supported by MERCK.

"In 2017 we'll break the code of silence about the disease; young people don't want to be ashamed anymore, they're sick of it. They want to be seen and that it be understood that they have needs differing than those of sick adults or children."

Creating a relevant world for young cancer patients

Halasartan was born of a series of arranged meetings with oncologists from every hospital in Israel. These sessions exposed a vacuum to the unique needs of youngsters. The system is built to cater to either adults or children. Young patients come to doctors with meaningful yet non-medical questions, including dilemmas pertaining to new relationships and sexuality, preserving fertility, how to share your condition with your children, dilemmas regarding dating, the workplace, the army and more.

This, then, is a digital home meant to support and improve the quality of life of young people, to strengthen their hope and resolve and to make all pertinent information easily and reliably accessible to them. It's a platform uncovering all of the services offered by Israel's many bodies. Through an "I need" navigation button you can find information regarding such issues as your National Insurance rights, kupot cholim, workplace and the army, the Israel Cancer Association and other NPOs, and more.

The site is written in a contemporary anti-establishment technologically-bent language: "Cancer is shitty. And cancer when you're young is really shitty. So we're not really glad you came to us, but it's probably for a reason". Alongside the website, a Facebook community was created aimed at young cancer patients and their family members and friends. 2017 is the year of severing the code of silence around the disease. The growth rate of friends on the page attests to the vacuum which existed around this topic. Young people share, in their own language, and easily exchange information/tips and receiving help from their Facebook friends. Lately there has also been growing feedback from different institutions which are using the platform the page provides to communicate with its members.

The platform revolutionized how the entire cancer patients category is regarded, as it identified a new category with its own demarcated needs, disparate from the general cancer patient populace. A new discourse arose around the world of young cancer patients and the launch brought to the public conversation the special needs of this segment of the population. For example, a post calling the establishment to take care of sperm donation room and add something other than toilet paper and a chair, creative solution for breast prostheses and more.

Halasartan also changed the category-based segmentation existing in most NPOs and is now allowing all bodies, great or small, to reach their shared target audience out of an understanding that technological advancement necessitates accessibility and openness to multifaceted information. The project is also set to influence the attitudes of official state institutions and the recognition in differentiating the special needs of young patients.

More than 10,000 members of the community in six months. The community's page reaches some 25,000 exposures each and every week, about 70% of whom are youngsters.

Halasartan is an initiative by the Tal Center (registered NPO) created by Zohar and Yankale Yakobson who have lost their daughter, Tal, to cancer at 26. The project is supported by the MSD company.

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