Cancer helped me find calling as an inventor
WHEN Lorna Perks was diagnosed with breast cancer she had no idea it would lead to a change of career.
But now she is an inventor who has been shortlisted for a national business competition.
Ms Perks, of Ashley Down, came up with the idea for her Pillpod after chemotherapy during her treatment for breast cancer two years ago.
After being sent home from hospital with a bag of pills she realised that taking medication at the right time could be confusing for patients and set about developing a dispenser that minimises the chances of accidentally overdosing.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
Ms Perks used to work in IT, marketing and sales but had always had ideas about potential inventions.
It was an insurance pay-out after her cancer diagnosis that gave her the backing to pursue these ideas.
And now her idea for a pill dispenser is one of ten business proposals shortlisted for the Orange Different Business competition.
The single mum's invention was chosen from 150 entries and winning the award would mean a £200,000 package of business support to help Ms Perks further develop the product.
She said: "The Pillpod enables seriously ill patients to take medication safely, properly and on time. It is a pill dispenser that is completely different to anything else on the market, which will especially help elderly and disabled people.
"Taking a lot of medication can be quite confusing and that can lead them to taking it wrongly."
The device, which has not yet been produced, will link into the NHS and pharmacies so that the information about each different pill and when it should be taken is programmed for the patient. The system will also enable data to be gathered about the medication in a way that might enable future medical research or drug trials to be carried out.
The Pillpod features pods for each of the tablets to be added or taken away when medication is changed.
"It has come from my own experience with breast cancer and I realised other people must be suffering with trying to manage their own medication.
"When I had my first chemotherapy session it made me feel very ill and I came away from hospital with a whole carrier bag full of anti-sickness, steroids and other medication. I had to take one tablet in the morning and night on the first two days and another three times a day and because they all look the same – they were all in white packets with white tablets – I had no idea if I had already taken them.
"I drew up a chart to tick every time I took one but because I was ill I couldn't work out whether I had just ticked it.
"There are elderly people taking 15 to 20 different medications so I thought a device to remind them which pills to take and when would help."
Ms Perks has been working with the University of the West of England, where students have been working on the software for the Pillpod and designs are being put together for the product. It will then need to go through testing due to the medical nature of the product.
Ms Perks, who is mother to Will, ten, and Max, eight, said: "I've always been a troubleshooter and used to have lots of ideas I never pursued, but when I wasn't very well it gave me the head space to think that these ideas would actually work.
"All my designs are about other people and helping other people in different ways."
â Vote for your favourite invention at www.winyourbusiness.com/ until July 2.