Five years earlier, their brother and friend Stephen Heywood was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) at the age of 29.
The Heywood family soon began searching for ideas that would extend and improve Stephen's life. Inspired by Stephen's experiences, the co-founders and team conceptualised and built a health data-sharing platform that they believe can transform the way patients manage their own conditions, change the way industry conducts research and improve patient care.
Today, PatientsLikeMe is a for-profit company, but one with a 'not just for profit' mission. It keeps the site free for patients and free from advertising by conducting research studies with pharmaceutical companies, academics and trusted non-profit partners who use this health data to improve products, services and care for patients.
Under the leadership of Paul Wicks, the site has expanded from a small set of isolated communities to a powerful website that any patient with any disease can join. The website now boasts more than 125,000 patients with more than 1,000 life-changing illnesses from multiple sclerosis to autism to cancer.