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Smartphone app transforming heartache into hope

The Cancer Diaries app. (NewsChannel 8 photo)
The Cancer Diaries app. (NewsChannel 8 photo)
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BOWIE, Md. (NewsChannel 8) - A Bowie woman who lost her fiance to cancer is turning her heartache into hope.

Bernice Samuels and her brother, Matt, created a smartphone app called "the Cancer Diaries" dedicated as a guide to help others fighting terminal illnesses.

On March 3, 2013, her fiance, James Watts, lost his two-year battle with Hodgekin's Lymphoma.

"It was earth shattering. I immediately thought about the early '90s movie called 'Powder' of a bald-headed guy that was frail," Bernice recalls of the diagnosis.

She began documenting her experience and collaborating with eight other people across the country also facing terminal illnesses. Her brother came up with the idea for developing a free app.

"James lived for that type of stuff," Matt Samuels recalled.

Since launching in September "the Cancer Diaries" app has been downloaded more than 2,000 times. It also connects users with information on how to donate organs and blood. According to government statistics, African Americans are the largest group of minorities in need of organ transplants.

The Samuels are currently working on a documentary to "change the face" of cancer. Their ultimate goal is to partner with corporations to provide financial assistance to people and their families fighting disease.

"If I can put food in your refrigerator through this, then your quality of life can be better," Matt Samuels explained of their mission.

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You can check out the Samuels' Cancer Plus 1 website and get more information on their Kickstarter campaign.

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