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11-Year-Old Girl Invents ‘Chemo Backpack’

Update Date: Aug 08, 2014 09:30 AM EDT
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A young girl's battle against cancer has inspired her to invent a backpack that will make living with cancer relatively easier. According to Kylie Simonds, who is from Naugatuck, CT, walking around with IV (intravenous) poles, which deliver chemotherapy treatment, can be quite difficult. The young girl was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, a connective tissue cancer, which affects soft tissues, connective tissues and bones three years ago.

Instead of walking around with these big machines, Kylie invented a pediatric IV backpack. The 'chemo backpack' carries a portable IV machine for pediatric patients receiving chemotherapy or a transfusion.

"It was hard to walk around, and I always had to have someone push it for me because I was ... weak when I was in chemo," Kylie told WTNH reported in HuffPost. She added that her IV backpacks "are very light and ... more convenient."

When Kylie thought up of the idea of inventing a portable backpack, she had her two close friends, Marik and Brooke in mind. Kylie met these other cancer patients when she was receiving treatment. Marik had a prosthetic leg, which made walking around with IV poles inconvenient and difficult. Brooke was moving in and out of the hospital with her IV poles quite frequently. The backpack, for both of them, would make treatment more convenient.

Kylie's mockup backpack includes a Hello Kitty design. On the lower right corner, there will be a battery-powered IV controller, which regulates the amount of chemotherapy the patient receives. On the top right corner, there will be a small cage that can hold the IV bag safely.

Kylie's backpack has gotten recognition. According to Yahoo News, her teachers entered the backpack into the Connecticut Invention Convention where it won several awards. One of these awards was the Patent Award, which will send her invention design to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

"I think it's a wonderful idea. The stigma would fall away from seeing an IV pole [and] it would be very useful for pediatric oncology patients in providing them much more mobility and freedom," Birte Wistinghausen, M.D., clinical director of the Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at Mount Sinai Hospital, told Yahoo News.

Kylie is now focusing on raising money to produce a working prototype after being cancer free for two years. To donate to her cause, please visit her Crowdrise page here. Kylie's Gofundme page can be found here.

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