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The Story of Chris and the Start of Vicinity Health

Since this day has passed, I would redo it as a recap

Today is a big day for me. I am about 6 hours away from pitching at the Plug And Play Tech Center: Health And Fitness Wearable Expo. The weight of pitching at an event like this is enough to make anyone's knees start knocking. It's exhilarating, emotional, and a great way to make you focus all the entrepreneurial energy you have, into a laser beam. Anyone that knows how much it is a roller coaster when creating a startup understands what I mean. I want to thank my team Denise, Francine, Eric, and David for helping us get ready for today. Also I need to shout out to all my friends at Gangplank in Chandler as well as ASU.


This photo was taken on January 19th, 2014, when I was just admitted into the hospital. Although this photo makes me scream inside of fear, I feel it is important to understand how I felt and like they say, "A picture speaks a 1,000 words".

So how did it start. On January 19th, 2014, I ended up driving to the hospital because I was having an asthma attack, but this was different. Usually the air in my face and the engine roaring will slow my heart rate which in turn will slow my breathing. This did not happen. The hospital is 30 miles away and it took me over 2 hours to get there. On the way I remember using my nebulizer and hoping I would get pulled over for driving slow. No luck, No cops were around. I can honestly say I actually was ok if I died at one point. All I could think about was the money it would cost my family and how much stress I was putting on my wife and kids.

I did make it to the hospital, and first thing I did was found a receipt and a broken pen. I wrote asthma attach on the receipt and slowly crawled and shuffled myself to the emergency doors. I then showed my receipt asking for help and was instantly put in a chair and another nebulizer treatment. Asthma is funny because you cant' talk coherently about how you feel. There is a lack of oxygen so you do begin to drift into different states of awareness. I remember having a doctor and nurse talk about tubing me or putting my on a machine. That was scary. All I could think was, "Oh Shit, This is really bad and I might never see my wife or kids again!" It is important to remember that most of the asthma medicine is taken by breathing it in. If you can't get the medicine into your lungs then you don't get better. It is a little bit ironic that way. Luckily one of the nurses decide to put a C-Pat machine on me to force lungs to inflate. About 15 minutes later I was in somewhat control and the medicine was finally able to work.

So I eventually was able to sleep after being moved to intensive care, and woke up in the morning. It has been about 10 years since I was in the hospital overnight myself. I grew up in hospitals in some way because I spent over 1 year of my life in the hospital so far and I know I will one day end up in the hospital again for asthma. My grandmother had asthma and I was there to see it take her life a few years ago. It is surreal to see the way you will day.

So how did Wheezy and Vicinity Health become to exist? I was trying to find a app that would let me monitor the way I breathe. And of course, I downloaded every app with the intention to find something I could use and after a few hours I realized their is nothing I could find. So being a developer, I got my Mac and coded a iOS app while I laid in my hospital bed. Now the app was simple and logged data, but it sucked manually adding data to my phone. So I began to think how I would want to manage my asthma and Wheezy was born. I built the hardware about a week after I got out of the hospital. It allowed me to automatically get data from my breathing without me doing anything I would need to worry about.

Later that week, I met Eric Schedeler and Francine Hardaway, after telling them what I was doing, Francine suggested I stop working on my other startup and begin working on this right away. When Francine suggest something like this, you do it. That is it. A few days later Francine made a introduction to Julien Blin and I was able to be part of the Plug And Play Expo.

More To Come Soon!



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About The Author


Chris Stiffler is the Founder and current CEO of Vicinity Health. Chris is married with 2 children. He is a 34 year old with asthma.

About Vicinity Health

Vicinity Health is a vibrant, small startup whose goal is to leverage off of technology driving The Internet of Things (IoT) to empower people to take control of their health.


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