New technology to fight an old foe

Jul 18, 2013

(Phys.org) —It works like many other mobile games – you collect falling phones in a bin and dodge bombs to score points. But the YouCan Support! iPhone app also delivers an important message that could help save the lives of young cancer sufferers.

YouCan Support! was created by 18-year-old Anastasia Attia, who was inspired to support Sony Foundation's You Can youth cancer campaign when her sister was diagnosed with cancer three years ago.

"I thought, 'They don't have an app, and it would cost a lot for them to make one, so I'll take up the challenge'," says Anastasia, who won a scholarship to study a Bachelor of Information Technology at the University of Technology, Sydney.

Anastasia's app brings out the message of the You Can campaign (youcan.org.au): put your old mobile phones in a collection bin so they can be recycled and swapped for cash by the Sony Foundation.

"At the end of the game I've got the You Can poster, which says: 'Donate your mobile phone'. Raising more awareness can make a big difference," Anastasia says.

Sony Foundation chief executive Sophie Ryan says young people like Anastasia provide invaluable support to the foundation and think of innovative ways to engage the public in campaigns.

"Anastasia's app is helping us to get the message out there about the You Can phone recycling campaign and the large gap in youth ," Ryan says.

All money raised by the campaign goes towards building specialised youth cancer centres, to improve the and for young people aged 15 to 30 with cancer.

Anastasia says the serious need for youth cancer centres was a source of motivation when she was developing the app. "I was like, 'I have to do this. I really want it to be out'."

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