Meet Kylie Simonds and Her Chemo Backpack

It all started with a school project to invent something to solve an everyday problem. Other kids chose the common route by building something like a potato-powered light-bulb, but 11-year-old Kylie Simonds chose to make something related to her personal battle with rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare childhood cancer that affects bone or soft tissue. (Kylie underwent approximately 11 months of chemotherapy, radiation, and surgeries. Ever since she was given the okay by doctors, she’s remained healthy.)

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Her invention is outstanding for a girl her age. It’s a “chemo-backpack” to help kids like Kylie cope better with cancer. Kylie remembers having to walk around with those awkward and ugly IV poles, recalling how much of a burden it was and how she always had trouble lugging the IV stand around. She said it was really heavy and that she always had to have people push it for her because of how weak she was due to the chemo. That’s why she invented her pediatric IV backpack: a portable, wearable IV presented as something functional that a kid is already wearing. It even comes in colorful designs to make them more comforting and engaging for kids. The backpack’s original design was Hello Kitty, but she says a blue one with hot wheels could also easily be made for boys.

The design includes a cage around the drip bag, and the shapes are customizable. If they receive two different medicines or a transfusion and medicine, then they can add a second cage. The IV controller is also attached to the backpack to control the flow, and everything is battery operated.

Kylie had a few friends in mind when creating this design. For instance, her friend Brooke sometimes has to take her IV home with her. Since Brooke also likes fashion, this backpack would help when she goes out and about by making her feel more comfortable around other kids. Then, there’s her friend Marik who has a prosthetic leg and uses crutches. He has to have someone to push the IV pole around for him; but, with the backpack, she says he could just slip it on.

When Kylie presented her project, the teachers were blown away. They decided to submit the project to the Connecticut Invention Convention with 700 other contestants. Not surprisingly, she beat out every other kid in the convention and won not just one award, but four — including the patent award, which is the highest they offer. Kylie (with the help of her parents) has also set up a go fund me page to raise money for research and development and create a fully functional device. Her initial goal was to raise $20,000, and she is now currently approaching 50k.

To help the cause, you can donate at Kylie’s Go Fund Me page. To spread the word, you can tweet about it and share it on Facebook, Instagram, or any other form of social media. This is an amazing invention that could change the lives of cancer victims, making this unfortunate situation slightly easier on small children.

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