Thuy Muoi, labelled as the “Queen of Start-ups” in Vietnam would rather describe herself as the “Queen of Problems.” This inspiringly optimistic young woman has come up with a good number of initiatives, most of which are products of her positive way of viewing problems.
Her creativity and drive to start something new propelled her towards becoming one of the most influential women in Vietnam. “Whether it’s for-profit or a non-profit, the mission of my organizations is always about solving very specific problems,” she said.
For instance, her breakup with a boyfriend she met on Tinder made her realize how difficult long-distance relationships were. This inspired her to build Tappy – a hyperlocal social app that transforms any location into a virtual online community where users can discover interesting people and content.
However, among the problems Thuy Muoi encountered, being diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer was the toughest. She was devastated and her career’s momentum was forced to a complete stop. Yet, when she realized how she wasn’t getting the help she needed in Vietnam, Thuy Muoi recognised the pressing need to bolster the weak healthcare system. She started the Salt Cancer Initiative, a non-profit organization which aims to support hundreds of thousands of cancer patients in Vietnam.
“Even if they can’t get better equipment or medicine, people should at least have the information they need to know about what’s going on with their disease,” she shared. Thuy Muoi knew how painful it was to be diagnosed with terminal cancer without adequate support and honest information about the illness and her hopes for survival.
Instead of dwelling on her illness, she started wearing Fitbits to track her health. “When I started my treatment, I’d show the doctor detailed graphs about my health, like how far I’d walked two months before, and how far I could walk now,” she shared. These statistics encouraged her to keep going. While she pushed herself to exercise and improve her health, she was pulling other cancer patients with her by sharing her journey through the Salt Cancer Initiative.
Today, the organization has brought joy and hope to thousands of cancer patients in Vietnam through various activities, such as the yoga program, cancer sharing meetup, and paediatric programs. Thuy Muoi has not only overcome the darkness that cancer brought into her life, but also used her own struggle to lift others up.