How we helped a Syrian refugee

I wrote a post a few months ago about helping a fellow entrepreneur from 500 Startups on one of his moles, which turned out to be a malignant melanoma. We managed to help him detect and remove the cancerous lesion at a very early stage.

This week, when I was checking my LinkedIn, I saw a message that someone in my network had commented on. An image of a young man that had a rash on his arm.

LinkedIn might not be the best social platform to post images like this, but it got my attention.

A Dr. Ahmad Risk posted an urgent message for help about a rash on a young man that he saw in a refugee camp in Chios, Greece.

“Anyone knows what this is? Spreading rapidly in a refugee camp in Chios, Greece. Camp is rat infested and there are overflowing latrines.
Thank you (I skipped dermatology classes at Med School :)”

Dr Ahmad Risk’s LinkedIn message

There were many guesses in the comment section on what it could be, ranging from from Leishmania to Tinea and other skin diseases.

Random guesses from LinkedIn users

Instead of me jumping into conclusion on what the rash was, I recommended him to use our service, First Derm, and said that we would waive the fee.

In the end I submitted the case for him, and one of our dermatologists responded with the following within 20 minutes:

Dermatologist Amélie Seghers answered Psoriasis

I am happy that our team of dermatologists were able to contribute and help.


Today, it is estimated that there are 4.8 million refugees outside of the war-torn Syria. In fact, by January 2017, there were already 4,863,684 registered refugees on the UNHCR records. In Greece, there are about 65,000 refugees. The camps are dangerous and overcrowded, as reported by The Guardian in February 2017.

Apart from basic needs like food and water, health care is the main priority in the improvement of refugees’ lives.


This also gave me the idea to connect with Mike Butcher, who is jointly running Techfugees. Butcher and his team are putting together startups that have ideas to help refugees, and we would like to join forces with such an amazing social enterprise and do our fare share.


In light of this, we are now offering Dr Ahmad Risk and his colleagues a free version of the First Derm app, to help serve other refugees with a skin concern. You can read the LinkedIn post here: