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14 Feb 2018

New app delivers practical support

CanDo is designed to make it easier to ask for and accept help when living with a serious illness.

CanDo is a new mobile app developed by breast cancer survivor Rachael Lonergan in collaboration with the Garvan Institute of Medical Research.

  • The Australian app helps people with serious illnesses get assistance with everyday tasks.
  • CanDo removes the awkwardness of asking for help.
  • With teams and lists of tasks, people can nominate themselves to lend a hand.

When Lonergan was diagnosed with breast cancer, she had to undergo surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. “Friends and co-workers would ask me what they could do, but I found that awkward and held back from accepting help I really could have used,” Lonergan says. After this experience, she came up with the idea for the CanDo app. “The app helps to eliminate social isolation and allows people to focus on their treatment, reducing anxiety around getting the ‘little things’ done.”

Whether you’re dealing with an illness yourself or know someone who is, CanDo can help share the load of completing everyday tasks. Often, people with illnesses put on a brave face about needing assistance, or friends and family are paralysed by fear of saying or doing the wrong thing. The CanDo app is designed help people with an illness, on their terms. They can articulate what they need or don’t need and their support network can see what’s needed. This allows people to transform their desire to help into real actions. 

Even when treatment is over, life doesn’t instantly return to normal, whether it’s going back to work or having the strength to tackle chores again. CanDo can help during the readjustment period.

“I’ve seen first-hand how cancer is life-changing, and how hard it can be to ask for help, especially for mundane, personal tasks like changing your sheets,” says Lonergan. “CanDo is the app I wish I had when going through treatment and well after. During an overwhelming time, CanDo lets you say yes to help, but articulate what you need. It also gives people who want to help, a platform to offer it without feeling embarrassed. It’s a way to bring people together.”

“Garvan is proud to be involved with CanDo. People with disease or undergoing treatment need support and assistance – CanDo is a great initiative to help ease the burden”, says Andrew Giles, CEO of the Garvan Research Foundation. “Garvan researchers are dedicated to improving human health and reducing the impact of disease. For those with disease, and their families, CanDo is a helpful support tool.”

Now available for free download from the Apple App Store and Google Play. Visit to find out more. 

About Rachael Lonergan, founder of CanDO

An award-winning advertising executive with over 20 years of experience in Australia and the US, Lonergan has worked with some of the biggest marketing brands in the world, as well as passionate start-ups. Following her experiences with breast cancer, she created CanDo in collaboration with Garvan, to make life better for people undergoing treatment for serious illnesses. 

About the Garvan Institute of Medical Research

The Garvan Institute of Medical Research is one of Australia’s largest medical research institutions and is at the forefront of next-generation genomic sequencing in Australia. Garvan’s main research areas are cancer, diabetes and metabolism, genomics and epigenetics, immunology and inflammation, osteoporosis and bone biology, and neuroscience. Garvan’s mission is to make significant contributions to medical science that will change the directions of science and medicine and have major impacts on human health.