SPANX co-founder and former COO, David Wasilewski, spent nearly a decade helping women all over the world look and feel slimmer, but he didn't see himself selling women's intimates forever.
As Wasilewski was preparing for future ventures, cancer struck his family, as an uncle was faced not only with brain cancer, but with an array of treatment decisions that were as confusing as they were important. Internet searches turned up some good information, but a stunning lack of relevant firsthand insights from patients and families in similar circumstances. "When facing cancer, patients and family members are thrust into a world of medicine they know nothing about," said David Wasilewski, Founder of WhatNext.com. "It can be difficult to make decisions and stay strong."
This realization inspired Wasilewski to create WhatNext.com – a leading source of firsthand insights into living with cancer. Developed in part with the American Cancer Society, WhatNext.com is now live with a rapidly growing collection of over 30,000 firsthand experiences on everything from how to deal with hair loss to what it's like to undergo breast reconstruction.
Whereas Facebook connects people based on their friends and interests, WhatNext matches people based on their cancer diagnoses and other parameters like treatment options and side effects they've experienced. "Learning from someone who shares your specific diagnosis means everything," said Lee P., a 42-year-old breast cancer survivor and WhatNexter. "My experiences as someone with stage II breast cancer are much different than someone with Stage I or Stage III."
On WhatNext, people can instantly access firsthand experiences posted by others in similar circumstances, and connect them to get answers to their questions. WhatNexters share their journeys in a timeline format that structures their experiences so they are cataloged and easy to navigate by others. The site uses advanced matching algorithms to match people to highly relevant peers, medical experiences, and American Cancer Society resources. This makes it easy for new people to find the specific help they are seeking. While WhatNext provides valuable encouragement in difficult times, the focus remains on providing easy access to the information and insight people need to make the difficult decisions and manage this very challenging episode of life.