Conn Bertish is a man on a mission; a man who is determined to “make people harder to kill.” Especially those who have been diagnosed or living with cancer.

In 2006, Conn, an internationally awarded creative director, big wave surfer, fear factor winner, husband, and father of two young children was diagnosed with a severe and extremely rare form of malignant brain cancer.

Using his experience in creative thinking and storytelling, Conn immersed himself in his cancer using pens, pencils, paint, and sticks of chalk to make sense of the challenges he faced. The world became his physical metaphoric cancer-beating playground. An upbeat, visually engaging canvas that helped him boost his treatments, his resilience, and immune system.

He believes that this ultimately increased his chances of survival and helped him beat his cancer in 2013. His unique way of thinking about cancer captured the attention of doctors, oncologists, neurologists, and professors of science, who all urged him to share this with others.

So he quit his high-powered job in advertising and developed a tool that other cancer patients can use to play an active role in their own healing.

The result was: The Cancer Dojo, a platform that helps people facing cancer to become more resilient.

The power of positive participation

The Cancer Dojo ideology is supported by a growing movement in the power of positive actions and thinking. With the help of the app cancer patients can build their resilience and immune systems while helping to augment the effects of their treatments through the use of creative techniques, tasks, and fun challenges based on Psychoneuroimmunology – the science behind how the mind affects the human body.

Research shows that being empowered and positive in a debilitating situation has profound effects on your immune system, enabling more resilience and the ability to bounce back from treatments and setbacks better.

“A vital step in any cancer journey is to be empowered to face its many challenges. Conn’s journey and mobile application, both inspire and empower,” says Dr. Garth Davids of Cancercare and Icon Oncology Network who treated Conn.

The Cancer Dojo app is a space where cancer warriors can learn, find purpose within their disease, and grow stronger while sharing skills and boosting their resilience within a supportive, inspired community.

Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, those living with cancer are not only more susceptible to the virus but also run the risk of being impacted psychologically by the increased pressures and anxiety.

“The good news is that resilience is a skill you can learn. By merging creativity, technology, and medicine our app enables cancer sufferers to play an active role in their treatments, making them more resilient to the negative effects of the disease. We believe that happier people are harder to kill,” explains Conn.

Conn’s story was recently featured on Beautiful News, watch it here.

The Cancer Dojo app is available to download on the Apple Store or Google Play Store. Alternatively, gift the app by visiting You can also follow Cancer Dojo on Facebook and Twitter.

About Cancer Dojo and Conn Bertish:

Cancer Dojo is a social enterprise partner of People Living with Cancer, a registered Non-Profit Organisation.

Conn Bertish has developed a course of 5 Creative Resilience webinars for corporates to empower and build resilience in their teams. For each corporate webinar hosted, Conn donates a free webinar to a group of cancer patients in South Africa.  For more information visit