Wellbeing App inspired by founder’s own brain tumour diagnosis gets NHS approval

CORNWALL-based Freyja Hanstein is using her own experience to drive her App’s support for others

Freyja, from Porthtowan, on the Cornish north coast, launched the Wholesome World App in March 2019 and on 14 April this year, it gained NHS approval and has prestigious recognition as an NHS Authorised App.

The wealth of positive feedback for the App from others going through similar diagnosis and recovery, is fuelling Freyja’s drive to reach out to others.

Wholesome World’s aim is to provide medicinal, charity and lifestyle links, recipes and wellbeing advice associated with recovery and support for anyone who is wanting to improve their general health, and is particularly focused for those going through a severe illness diagnosis and treatment.

The App has steadily been garnering praise from those who’ve downloaded it: “Really good to find something with meaningful content on every level,” wrote one, while another said: “This app is beautifully designed and has unique and wholesome content. Freyja is an inspiration.”

Freyja said: “I wanted everything I knew as easy access to everyone…within arms’ reach, wherever you are. So I created an ‘unloseable’ library: Wholesome World.”

In 2014, Freyja, at 27, lost her husband to cancer and then by a cruel twist of fate, she was diagnosed with a brain tumour just one year later.

Freyja said: ”Research for my diagnosis was difficult. Despite everything that had happened with the treatment of my husband who passed away from cancer, despite my Biological Sciences & Law degrees, and despite my brother being a neuroscientist, with all of these elements, understanding my own situation was almost impossible.”

Wholesome World was born out of this nightmare situation. “Having struggled to get back to a normal life, I created the App to give people the reassurance that they’re not alone.”

Initially Freyja started experiencing ‘blips’ of fatigue in 2015, episodes like a “head-rush, when you’ve not eaten enough and have no energy.” Devastatingly, they were early symptoms of a brain tumour.

Freyja said: “These blips became more frequent and longer that year. I wasn’t completely blanking out, but afterwards I couldn’t remember what was going on in my head, despite trying to concentrate through the episode.”

Freyja was diagnosed with an oligodendroglioma, grade 3/4 brain tumour and underwent surgery to remove it in March 2016.

Freyja says: “I hope that it helps at least one person be happier and healthier. Every single person is different, I hope that Wholesome World can be useful.”

Freyja hopes the continued success of Wholesome World will inspire a key change in lifestyle for others facing similar diagnosis, treatments and recovery.

Covering everything from healthy recipes and wellbeing advice, scientific links and information about cancers and treatments, other organisations such as The Brain Tumour Charity, and dietary information and recipes, the App is the first of its kind to bring these elements together.

“I want to pass on the information I used and have researched since my own diagnosis to anyone else who might be stuck, not knowing where or how to move forwards.

“I hope it resonates with a lot of people. The recipe and nutrition content is key, a main driver of Wholesome World but it’s also about the healthcare aspects and up-to-date links to scientific information; it’s part of the inclusive approach of the whole App.

“I want Wholesome World to help people understand their diagnosis and explore more options, to be a resource for everyone going through their own experience.”

Sarah Lindsell, CEO of The Brain Tumour Charity, said: ”Raising awareness of the devastating impact of a brain tumour diagnosis is key to our strategy of accelerating change for everyone affected and we couldn’t achieve this without the support of people such as Freyja.

We are delighted for her to know that Wholesome World is now NHS approved, particularly for so many who feel isolated and alone during this ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

“It will no doubt prove part of a vital support network, that includes The Brain Tumour Charity’s own support and information resources, that can help to inspire and present trusted information and advice.

“As the UK’s foremost brain tumour charity, we are leading the way in fighting brain tumours on all fronts through our work.

“Together, we will find a cure.”

The Brain Tumour Charity is the UK’s largest dedicated brain tumour charity. They fund pioneering research to increase survival and improve treatment options as well as raising awareness of the symptoms and effects of brain tumours to bring about earlier diagnosis.

The Charity also provides support for everyone affected so that they can live as full a life as possible, with the best quality of life.