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Rich Lister-backed company bags business award in London

Two Kiwi doctors were the first in the world to establish a company publishing books to help sick children understand their medical conditions.Founders of Medikidz – Dr Kim Chilman-Blair and Dr Kate Hersov – have pocketed the coveted Business

Kristina Koveshnikova
Thu, 17 Sep 2009

Two Kiwi doctors were the first in the world to establish a company publishing books to help sick children understand their medical conditions.

Founders of Medikidz – Dr Kim Chilman-Blair and Dr Kate Hersov – have pocketed the coveted Business Innovation Award at the London Business Awards.

The company was established in New Zealand in 2006 when Dr Chilman-Blair came up with the idea after working at Starship Children's Hospital.

“There is an outcrying not just from the children but also from the doctors who don’t have any resources to be able to give to kids and they feel helpless and they don’t have time to be able to sit down and properly explain things the them,” Dr Chilman-Blair told the National Business Review.

Prominent businessman Stephen Tindall backed the company from its conception with Owen Glenn coming on board recently to expand it into a global operation.

“Owen Glenn is helping us to really make this into an international business. We are hoping to take this idea and set up Medikidz offices in many different countries,” said Dr Chilman-Blair.

“The opportunities are endless. We don’t have any competitors on the global market for this kind of material for children. We are the only ones in the world.”

Medikidz UK was founded in 2008 and Dr Chilman-Blair will travel to the United States to set up a Medikidz USA in six months and then, to India.

The two young doctors joined forces with graphic novelists –John Taddeo of Marvel Comics fame (Spiderman, X-Men, the Hulk) and Shawn DeLoache – to turn the idea for a series of books into a reality.

The graphic novelists put medical information into “funny, edgy and a little bit sarcastic” stories for children so they find it interesting and engaging.

Born were five Medikidz superheroes who live on Mediland – a living, moving
planet shaped like the human body – and navigate various illnesses in a way that children across the globe can relate to and understand.

The first comics were launched in the UK in September 2009 with the endorsement of Archbishop Desmond Tutu and then here in New Zealand in June this year.

More than 850,000 books, translated into 10 different languages, have already been sold around the world.

So far, 20 books have been published on different condition including: asthma, autism, brain tumours, epilepsy, leukaemia and food allergy. Next year the company plans to release additional 20 to 30 books.

“We’ve got a list of 300 topics that we want to get through,” said Dr Chilman-Blair.

Kristina Koveshnikova
Thu, 17 Sep 2009
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Rich Lister-backed company bags business award in London
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