Patients Rising Founders Story
Patients Rising was founded in 2015 by Terry and Jonathan Wilcox to focus on the access and affordability needs for all patients that live with chronic and life-threatening illnesses. They believed that by default healthcare in the US should be getting the right treatment to the right patient at the right time. This simple motto drove their advocacy.
Terry and Jonathan knew from first-hand experience that a plastic card in the wallet did not guarantee coverage for a patient’s needs. It did not guarantee access to the doctor they wanted to see or the treatment that doctor prescribed. Patients living with chronic and life-threatening illnesses often had to fight harder to get what they needed. They learned this through stories from others, but ultimately, they learned it by caring for their own parents.
In 2007, Terry and Jonathan spent more than a year traveling, telling America the stories of cancer patients. The inspiration, coupled with the exasperation they felt from these patients and their families stuck with them for years. Terry went on to become the creative director for Vital Options International, a cancer support organization where she worked until the passing of its founder and her mentor, Selma Schimmel.
In 2015 the couple found themselves as an active part of the Sandwich Generation — they had young twin boys they were caring for on one hand, and aging parents on the other. When Jonathan’s mother and father moved into their home, it became abundantly clear that without self- and family-advocacy, patients can get lost and fall through the cracks. Even with great insurance, everything took work and follow-up and diligence. Terry brought her step-mother, living with dementia, and her Dad, who was living with type 1 diabetes and advanced stage renal disease from Denver to an assisted living facility near them.
Both Terry and Jonathan’s Dads have since passed away. Today they find themselves homeschooling two kids, navigating care for their aging Moms, and still looking in awe at the patients they serve wondering how they manage it all? They hope through the programs of Patients Rising and Patients Rising Now, they can give those patients and their families the support, education, and tools of empowerment they need.