Disrupting the Status Quo in Cancer Care

On October 20, I had the pleasure of attending this year’s Angel Ball in support of Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation. It was humbling to be honored at the event on behalf of Jynwel Charitable Foundation and our work to eradicate cancer. On stage, I shared why my family and I are passionate about and committed to funding breakthrough solutions that will help us make cancer history.

In the 1940s, my grandfather migrated from China to Malaysia and Thailand. He was an entrepreneur, and after his businesses became successful, he committed himself to supporting communities across Asia. It was his battle with cancer that inspired me to disrupt the status quo of cancer research and treatment.

In 2012, I had my own personal encounter with the disease when a doctor informed me that I might have cancer during a routine check-up. That moment was a turning point of my life.

On the advice of my friends, I stopped my work and travelled to the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. I was confident that I would receive the best care there, and within six months, the doctors determined that I was cancer-free and it was merely a scare, diagnosed as an infection which eventually went away. Yet those six months were pivotal in shaping my life, and I emerged more determined than ever to think big and act boldly. With the vision of institutionalizing my family’s philanthropy, my brother and I created Jynwel Charitable Foundation to make significant social impact investments that will help change the world.

Later in 2012, I learned that my grandfather had cancer. Unfortunately, he didn’t have access to the best standard of care – if he had, perhaps his condition would have been discovered earlier. During that moment, I realized the critical need to democratize global access to first-world cancer care.

After my grandfather’s passing in February 2013, we committed a total of $50 million dollars over 15 years through Jynwel Foundation to MD Anderson to create Oncology Expert Advisor (OEA) in partnership with IBM Watson.

OEA disrupts the way we approach the disease. While the information and skills we have are more advanced, that knowledge is not available to everyone, and this creates a gap between what is possible to treat and the care most patients in the world actually receive. If we want to end cancer in our lifetimes, we must address this gap, which is one of the biggest challenges we face in cancer care today.

Cancer doesn’t discriminate, which is why OEA is designed to democratize access to expert care and ensure patients across the world, regardless of income or diagnosis, receive the best treatment.

At Jynwel Foundation, we are committed to disrupting the status quo. Cancer treatment needs bold thinking, and OEA is just one small step. We look forward to helping the healthcare sector take even larger steps toward a cure in the future.