I live in Cambridgeshire in the UK with my wife and two daughters. The eldest has Cystic Fibrosis (CF) which was diagnosed in 2006 when she was 18 months old. This was a great shock to us, as we have no family history of CF, and at that time I had never even heard of the disease.
I remember being completely overwhelmed with information, treatments, medications, therapies, and essential changes to daily routine. The support we received from the hospital was brilliant and we were able to work out how to fit all these new treatments and routines into our daily lives.
CF is the UK’s most common inherited incurable disease. It’s management requires a lot of different treatments. It’s not unusual for my daughter to take 25 tablets taken at different times on different days, 5 nebulisers (inhaled medication) and 20 minutes of chest physiotherapy twice a day. This workload is known as ‘the burden of care’. Clearly it makes a huge impact upon the life of the person with CF and the whole family.
Stress caused by the need for daily treatments had been increasing steadily over the years, to a point where we routinely nagging and argued with my daughter before and during daily treatment sessions. So, in 2013 I realised that we needed to do something to make life easier.
Since then my goal has been to design and develop a consumer / medical product which will allow other families to benefit by transforming chest physiotherapy treatment into fun and games. Not everyone has the skills and facilities to build electronics, 3d print products and code computer games. I know that patients and families have an immediate need for a product they can use today. My passion and skills are inventing and developing this kind of interactive product, so that’s what I’ve set out to achieve.
Like all families caring for a person with CF, we want them to maintain the best health possible for as long as possible. If and when a cure for cystic fibrosis is found, I want my daughter to be in the best health possible to gain maximum benefit from any future ‘cure’.
I believe that our products and services should be developed in the interests of patients and families, rather than the purely for the prosperity of shareholders. That’s why I have founded Playphysio is a special form of company known as a ‘social venture’. As a ‘Community Interest Company’ (C.I.C.) Playphysio is legally bound to deliver on its mission of creating products and services which provide benefits for chronically sick children and their families. As C.I.C. we also have an ‘asset lock’ in our company articles. This means that when the company makes surplus income this must be paid to a charity. In almost all other respects a CIC operates in exactly the same was as any other ‘normal’ company.