Thank you - ArthritisHack!

October 16, 2017
Written By John Lai

Was sooo tired...went home, caught up on work, fell asleep, woke up, then a day full of urgent meetings because of upcoming that those are out of the way.... Yay!! We did it! Our team, Team Kizuna, came in first place at Arthritis Hack! We successfully built an iOS application that helped individuals with Arthritis to quickly connect with nearby volunteers and request assistance. The idea is that when an individual with arthritis is in distress, the individual can open up Kizuna, and with one tap of a button, issue a distress call with the nature of the distress to nearby volunteers. Volunteers with the app will receive a notification in their Kizuna app and loved ones can receive SMS messages. As you can probably infer, Kizuna offered functionality such as geolocation with proximity location, SMS messaging, quick access to popular distress call options, distress call priority, volunteer profiling, etc...And we intend to incentivize volunteers through loyalty points that can be redeemed as part of brand loyalty programs.


Although we knew we would do well, we didn't expect to come in at first place. There were some really great teams. My personal favourites were:

Team Ari - People's Choice - These guys built a knowledge sharing application that made effective use of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. They were the "people's choice", and deservedly so. Their presentation and product demonstration was hilarious and quirky, these guys are smart and business savvy individuals. I really hope to meet them again in future hackathons.

Team Spoons - 2nd place finish - This team developed an innovative way to teach children with JRA to care for themselves through the use of a virtual canine companion. The visuals were really well done , it's impressive that they could do something like this in just one weekend.

Team 2020 - 3rd place finish - When you're diagnosed with a life long condition for the first time, you may feel weary, anxious and even depressed. Team 2020 did an amazing job building a virtual reality environment to support individuals with arthritis going through identity transitions.

Team Arthwrite - This team built a visually impactful and easy-to-use diary and symptom tracker. What I really liked about this team was that in the short period of time that they had, they were able to assemble a very nicely designed product with a lot of features that worked!

There were at least 10 other great teams, and I really hope their presentations are made publicly available somewhere someday.


This was my second hackathon. In the last one, our team finished 3rd. I'm really touched by the number of people who take part in Hacking Health, and their reasons for doing it. So I want to share anything I can to help teams make a difference. Here's the timeline I encourage my team to follow to improve our chances at success:

Friday night - complete your market+industry analysis, establish your requirements, set up technical foundation (eg. servers, IDE configuration, and maybe some API calls etc..)

Saturday 9am to 6pm - work on and finish your MVP and have most of your ideas ready for your presentation.

Saturday 6pm to Sunday 11am - work on bells and whistles for your MVP and complete your presentation.

Sunday 11am to Sunday 3pm - just rehearsing, and dealing with any outstanding issues.

Sunday 3pm - presentation.

At a hackathon, and just like industry, things rarely go according to schedule, and we all still find ourselves pulling all-nighters, cutting corners, and working down to the wire. But when we aim for the timelines I mentioned, we develop a sense of how far off course we might be, and make the necessary pivots.


We are genuinely proud to have been in a room with 100 of the brighest minds in Canada. And we are deeply appreciative of all the mentors who have shared their stories with us. We are greatful to the Arthritis Society and Hacking Health for organizing this wonderful event. Thank you to the sponsors and community partners that enabled this, Lilly, Cossette Health, Canada Health Infoway, Open LLP, Advanced Analytics and Research Lab, MedStack, Optimity Proactive Wellness, Mars, Xesto, HealthTO, HackerNest.

And also, personal thanks to my new found team mates:

Tian Xiao - Team Captain - 3rd year Med Student

Hey buddy, I know school is pretty crazy, but don't be a stranger!!! Thanks for leading the team to victory!

Janis Yee - UX Designer

Thanks Janis for helping us conceptualize the product and help lead the vision for the product. Looking forward to working with you again some day!

Janis Blog

Eva Ng - UI Designer

Thanks Eva for designing concepts and helping Errol Cheong a long with app development! Drop by our office every so often to Evermight office and help us out!

Eva's Blog

Errol Cheong - Mobile Developer

Thanks Errol, for pulling through on this one. Let's try to find another hackathon and team up again!

John Lai - Backend Developer + Biz Developer

Oh that's me. I thank myself for not sabotaging people's hard work and obstructing their path to success. Phew....

Next Steps for Kizuna

I'm the CEO of Evermight. I've got 15 employees on my team. I'm going to coordinate with team Kizuna and my own team, to see what everyone wants to do here. At Evermight, we have some other initiatives and resources that Kizuna can leverage. We'll explore synergies and see what Evermight can do with this. There's a good opportunity to change the tech landscape for arthritis here, and we are going to do everything we can to explore and implement this possibility. Stay tuned!!!