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A family of 3 young children with their mum and dad smiling to the camera
September 27, 2023

Rana’s challenge – a World CP Day success story

How a global network of innovators came together to develop a world-first solution to pain communication for non-verbal children with cerebral palsy.

As the mother of a non-verbal child with cerebral palsy, Rana Zarzour is faced daily with a heartbreaking communication barrier – how to best support her daughter and understand her needs.

When Rana saw the World CP Day 2022 call-out for assistive tech ideas, she was inspired to respond with a challenge informed by this lived experience – how do we unlock communication for children who experience chronic pain and enable them to share how this affects them with parents and carers?

Rana, who lives with her family in Lebanon, was one of 700+ submissions from the global CP as part of the ‘Millions of Reasons’ campaign. World CP Day organisers brought together a groundswell of crowdsourced ideas, and in just a few weeks, 63,000 votes were cast from 43 countries, narrowing down submissions to a handful of finalists.

Finally, Rana’s idea was judged by a panel of global cerebral palsy experts and people with lived experience as the most compelling, with American actor RJ Mitte (of Breaking Bad fame) announcing Rana as the winner in front of a global audience.

The Millions of Reasons campaign is back for World CP Day 2023 – head here to submit your life-changing idea for people with cerebral palsy.

As well as winning US $5,000, Rana’s idea was the centrepiece of the inaugural Remarkable Tech Summit in San Francisco, a global meeting of some of the disability tech space’s leading thinkers.

Remarkable, the disability tech accelerator made possible by Cerebral Palsy Alliance, then connected with a network of entrepreneurs, designers and inventors to develop solutions to Rana’s challenge.

Earlier this year, 15 teams from eight countries (Australia, Canada, India, Malaysia, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom and USA) took part in Remarkable’s ‘Design-athon’ with a mission to create solutions to Rana’s problem statement:

“How might we improve pain communication for children and young people with complex communication needs, enabling parents, caregivers and healthcare providers to better respond appropriately to an individual’s needs.”

After six weeks, Team Circle developed ‘Kendu’, a customisable toy that enables children to communicate their pain in an accessible way. Kendu’s buttons can be pressed to indicate pain levels and can be paired with apps to enable real-time tracking of pain for parents and caregivers.

The next step in this journey? Team Circle have been accepted into the 2024 intake of Remarkable ‘Launcher’, a program that offers support to early-stage startups, to bring their idea to reality and develop a viable product to support the communication needs of countless non-verbal people with cerebral palsy and their families.

We can’t wait to see what incredible ideas will be unearthed as part of World CP Day 2023, celebrated on Friday 6 October. Want to get involved in World CP Day 2023? Head here to find out more!

The next step in this journey? Team Circle have been accepted into the 2024 intake of Remarkable ‘Launcher’, a program that offers support to early-stage startups, to bring their idea to reality and develop a viable product to support the communication needs of countless non-verbal people with cerebral palsy and their families.

We can’t wait to see what incredible ideas will be unearthed as part of World CP Day 2023, celebrated on Friday 6 October. Want to get involved in World CP Day 2023? Head here to find out more!