ABC News(NAUGATUCK, Conn.) — An 11-year-old girl from Connecticut is spending the first months of her new school year handling a patent application, raising money online and screening companies that want to make her big idea — an IV pediatric backpack for kids with cancer — a reality.
Kylie Simonds, of Naugatuck, Connecticut, was in fifth grade last year when she took a standard classroom assignment — create something to solve an everyday problem — and turned it into something that could help thousands of kids with cancer.
“I came up with it from when I had cancer,” Simonds told ABC News. “When I had chemo, I had to pull around the big IV pack, so I came up with this backpack.”
“I remember tripping over all the wires, getting tangled up and having to drag this big thing around,” said Simonds, who underwent months of chemotherapy, radiation and surgeries to beat rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare childhood cancer she was diagnosed with three years ago, at age 8.
“I would have loved this thing for myself,” she said.
The backpack prototype, which won Simonds four awards at a statewide invention convention, includes details like a drip bag protection cage so kids can move around without fearing they will puncture the medicine bag and an IV controller built into the bag to control the bag’s flow rate.
“I worked with my mom and dad to actually make it and my nurses and doctors gave me some tips,” Simonds said. “They were saying it has to be light and portable and there has to be something that protects it if you sit back, so I thought of the metal cage that protects it.”
Right now, the bag features a Hello Kitty design but, Simonds said, the bag’s future will include customizable designs for boys and girls.
A GoFundMe page created by Simonds and her parents to raise money for her backpack design has already raised nearly $47,000 in two months.
“Some companies have already emailed us about how they want to help us,” said Simonds, who was treated at Yale Cancer Center in Connecticut. “My dad had to look through the emails to see which ones really want to help us and we found some companies that are good and we’re going to work with them.”
Friends Simonds made while undergoing cancer treatment have already been emailing her to say they want the backpack now, she said.
“It’s just touching my heart,” Simonds added.
Though Simonds’ big idea is receiving nationwide attention and could have an impact on thousands of people, it is her fifth-grade teacher, who gave her the assignment in the first place, who may be the most impressed.
“She was just shocked and amazed,” Simonds said of her teacher. “She was really, really happy and excited to see it.”
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