Crowdsourcing a cancer cure

Just when you think you’ve heard everything…

Artist Salvatore Iaconesi was given a fearful diagnosis: brain cancer. He told a TED audience in 2013 that he did not want to be a patient, “the one who waits.”

His response was novel. He asked for a print-out of his cancer. He spoke to it, telling the cancer it was only part of who he was and would have “to deal with the whole of me.” He created a website for it, La Cura (the cure), hacked his own medical records and posted them, and asked for ideas on how to cure his cancer.

The opinions came from all sides. Some people gave medical advice, others spiritual. Artists sent thousands of videos, images, pictures and art performances. The result was a multi-media, multi-lingual strategy Iaconesi chose from among the half million responses. This open-source approach to cancer treatment connected Iaconesi to a vast community, all focused on a cure.

Indigenous approaches to healing often focus on re-balancing in community rather than suffering in isolation. Iaconesi’s cancer journey shifts that communal approach into the wide world of the Web.

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