When Emily Levy was diagnosed with Chronic Neurological Lyme disease at age 19, she had to drop out many of the activities a young woman her age would enjoy, including sports and taking part to her sorority events. As part of her treatment, she had to carry a catheter on her arm to perform two IV infusions every day.
On top of that, her catheter needed to be protected to avoid infections, and the best way to do it — as she was informed — was by wearing a cut-off sock on her arm, sleeve-like, at all times.
She didn’t take it well.
“It was really embarrassing,” she said in a phone interview, describing her return to her finance class after being diagnosed. “I saw that people were looking at my arm and at my medical device, not at me as a strong and confident woman.”
“We are selling physical products but, mostly, we are selling a mentality.”
As a sophomore at Babson College, Levy took the opportunity of a school project to solve the problem that at that time was the more urgent for her – Providing a catheter cover that was even a fashionable item, not just a cut-off sock. “Once I had more a stylish solution and something that concealed the treatment, people just thought it was a part of my outfit,” she said.
Today, her company Mighty Well has expanded from its first product to selling online a whole line of accessories and clothes, including t-shirts and hats with the word “Undefeated.” Customers tend to be cancer patients, people with different types of infections and their loved ones, who may decide to make a purchase as a gift.
“The specific problem that we’re solving is really giving dignity and confidence to patients,” Levy, who was born and raised in Rhode Island, pointed out. “We are selling physical products but, mostly, we are selling a mentality.”
According to Levy, the collection should expand by this holiday season with a special jacket – designed specifically for breast cancer patients – where you can store drainage pumps or infusion pumps. Levy said they’re also working on a backpack with an insulated compartment, where people can store medications that have to be kept cold.
The company, which went through MassChallenge last year, has two full-time and three part-time employees.