Kylie Simonds, of Naugatuck, Connecticut, was 8 years old when she was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma — a rare, malignant, soft tissue tumor attached to the bones in children. Kylie did chemo for 46 weeks, plus radiation and surgeries. She is 11 now, in remission, and has found a way to help other kids with cancer.
Kylie remembers all to well the painful side effects of chemo. “I lost my hair and always used to get sick easily,” she said to Connecticut news station WTNH. But she also remembers a side effect of cancer that does not often receive attention — immobility.
“I used to have to use the IV poles and I always tripped over all the wires,” she said in the interview. “It was hard to walk around and I always had to have someone push it for me because I was kind a weak when I was in chemo.”
For a school assignment, Kylie invented a way to help kids regain their mobility and independence while undergoing treatment. The “IV Pediatric Backpack for KidsWithCancer” is a portable, lightweight alternative to all of the poles and wires that can restrain cancer patients.
With help from her parents, Kylie designed the concept in a pink Hello Kitty backpack. “The design incorporated an I.V. pole with a drip bag protection cage. Kids want to move around and we can’t risk the Medicine bags getting punctured or compressed,” Kylie explains on GoFundMe.com. “This cage is customizable with different shapes, like hearts, peace signs, etc. This also makes treatment less scary like current I.V. poles which are very intimidating to young children. The protection cage is also removable and can be replaced with a child’s choice of design. If they receive two different medicines or a transfusion and medicine they can add a second cage.”
Kylie’s teachers were so impressed with the design that they entered Kylie into the Connecticut Connecticut Invention Convention, where the backpack was on display with more than 700 other innovations. The I.V. Backpack won four prizes including the “Patent Award,” which is the highest award at the convention. The Patent Award allowed Kylie’s invention to be submitted to the US Patent & Trademark Office with the sponsor covering all costs.
But there’s still a long way to go. Kylie’s invention needs funding to make a prototype and proceed to production. “The controller will need to be customized to be mobile and also small enough to fit in a backpack,” said Kylie. So she turned to GoFundMe.com and hopes to raise $50,000. As of today, Kylie has over $24,000. Take a look at the site, which includes more details about Kylie’s impressive efforts to create the IV Pediatric Backpack for KidsWithCancer.
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