1783. Brad Gudger
Brad Gudger, from London, founded the social networking app ‘Alike’ to combat loneliness among young people with cancer, following his own experience after being diagnosed with Leukaemia in 2013 aged 19.
Brad required further treatment after the disease relapsed, and spent time isolated on a hospital ward in 2018 awaiting a bone marrow transplant. During this time, he was inspired to begin work on a project to help others in the cancer community stay connected, particularly among young people, with 83% of young cancer patients estimated to experience loneliness during and after treatment. From research and work with charities, Brad realised that technology could play a key part in helping combat loneliness among cancer patients and started developing ‘Alike’ to serve as a digital network for the community. The app is the first of its kind, allowing users to ‘swipe’ to connect based on a mixture of diagnosis, stories, and interests, and received over 1,000 downloads within the first 24 hours of its launch.
In a personal letter to Brad, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
“I am lost in admiration for remarkable people like yourself who freely give up your time to improve the lives of others.
“Your brilliant app ‘Alike’ has helped thousands of young people living with cancer to connect with each other. You know from your own experience how isolating cancer treatment can be. By creating a virtual community, you are tackling loneliness and building friendships at a vulnerable time in these young people’s lives.”
“This is truly overwhelming. It’s been tough recovering from cancer whilst establishing a charity and coordinating the development of an app, especially in the midst of the pandemic. To be recognised in this way really means so much.
“I would like to dedicate this award to the people who make Alike’s work possible: our staff, volunteers, supporters and community. I am constantly in awe of how dedicated, selfless, and generous the Alike team is. Together, we have been able to create something that means cancer patients and survivors can find connection any time, any place, any stage.”