The Story Behind Qcard
Sergio Di Giovanni, founder and TBI survivor, has developed an aid to better the quality of life for those living with cognitive and memory impairments.
In 2005, at 29 years old, Serg was hit by a driver running a red light. He was instantly knocked unconscious and has a faint memory of flashing lights, if a memory at all. He has no recollection of going to the hospital or heading home, nor the days, weeks, or even months surrounding the event.
In this brief moment during what was supposed to be a regular drive home, Serg sustained a brain injury that impaired his ability to remember, organize, plan, and stay focused.
After his accident, he received rehabilitation services from psychologists, neurologists, and occupational therapists through Hamilton Health Sciences to help him get back on track. He was taught to use paper calendars, sticky notes, and white boards to remind him of tasks during his rehabilitation. But none of these strategies seemed to work.
When the iPhone was released in 2007, he tried to use it as his memory aid. He downloaded apps similar to to-do lists, reminders and calendars but he found them to simply mimic the paper and pen solutions.
It was these frustrations that lead him to think of a better solution. He started to feel like an entrepreneur again and returned to his technical roots to develop a solution of his own. He thought about how his life could improve and how he could start helping people who are living with this same sort of struggle.
At the age of ten, Serg was introduced to his first computer and quickly taught himself to write software. At 12 years old, he was writing computer games like Hangman and Connect Four.
During his final year in College, he started a web development firm at a time when the modern Internet was just gaining popularity. His company grew quickly, attracting international clientele and by age 26 had aquired several real estate investments.
“Life was good and everything was going according to plan.” he said. But following the accident, his struggles with TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) lead him to close his company and sell his real estate.
Everyday tasks prompted new difficulties.
“Qcard was born from all the pitfalls I encountered every day and all of the solutions I needed to overcome them.”
Serg has had the support of the Ontario Brain Injury Association and Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation. They validated the importance of Qcard and gave him the confidence to go forward with its development.
Later, he received funding from the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) and the Canadian Federal Economic Development Agency (FedDev) to begin the development of Qcard.
The app was developed specifically for those with executive dysfunction like brain injuries, Alzheimer's, dementia, ADHD and the elderly. It helps strengthen memory, enhance organizational skills, and improves time management by acting as a notepad, to-do-list, calendar, alarm clock, and organizer, all in one.
“Qcard gives the user an aid they can rely on; a safety net. It helps them achieve success in their day to day activities, by helping them plan, initiate, follow through and complete just about anything,” he said.
Qcard helps families delegate and track tasks together while survivors learn to regain their independence.
Serg has given many presentations about his product and his story. He has spoken at the Brain Injury Canada Conference, Ontario Brain Injury Associations Conference, Hamilton Health Sciences ABI Conference, University of Toronto department of Rehabilitation Science and Occupational Therapy, and The District School Board of Niagara's International Conference.
Qcard has been featured in publications like Brain Injury Canada (ImpactWeekly), Brain Injury Association of America (THE Challenge), Ontario Brain Injury Association (OBIAreview), American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine (ACRM), The Financial Post, The Health Professional Magazine, and many others. Most recently, Qcard became an offically Recognized Product of The Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT).
The success of Qcard can be attributed to his first-hand experience as a brain injury survivor. His knowledge of the challenges TBI survivors struggle with has allowed him to create an exceptional memory tool, that he too, can rely on daily.
For more information, contact Sergio at Qcard.ca