Jul 29, 2014
11:31 AMHealth & Science
Naugatuck 11-Year-Old Invents IV Backpack to Help Kids with Cancer
Eleven-year-old Kylie Simonds of Naugatuck has used her own struggle with cancer as the inspiration for an idea that could help other kids in a similar situation.
For her fifth grade invention convention, Simonds created a portable IV backpack, called the IPack, for young patients to wear while they receive chemotherapy.
The backpack is not only functional—it holds the IV tubing in the bag so it doesn’t get tangled or too heavy—but it’s also fashionable. Simond’s mother, Kelly, says her daughter wants to be a fashion designer when she grows up, so naturally the product had to be stylish. The prototype was made in a pink Hello Kitty backpack (below.)
“At the beginning of the fifth grade school year, they were told that they needed to think of an idea—come up with an invention to solve an everyday problem,” says Kelly Simonds. “Kylie came home from school that first day and said, 'I know what I want to do.'”
Simonds was inspired to create the backpack after going through chemotherapy herself. She was diagnosed with a rare childhood cancer called Rhabdomyosarcoma when she was 8 years old. She underwent 46 weeks of chemotherapy and surgery to fight her cancer.
Today, she is two years out of treatment, and all of her scans have come back clean.
“I wanted to make [the IPack] because when I was in chemotherapy I had to use the long poles (below), and it was really annoying,” says Simonds. “When you’re in chemotherapy you’re pretty weak. I had to have someone push it around for me.”
She thought if she made something smaller and portable it would be easier for small children to carry their IVs around.
Simonds entered her IPack in the Cross Street Intermediate School Invention Convention. She was chosen as one of several students from her school to participate in the Connecticut Invention Convention, where more than 700 students from around the state displayed their creations.
The young inventor won four awards at the convention, including the Patent Award, the only such award given out that day. As part of the prize, lawyers completed market research for similar products in the state and applied for a provisional patent.
“I was very happy when my name was called,” says Simonds.
She has since received that provisional patent, and now she has until next May to create a working prototype of her backpack and apply for an actual patent through the state.
Simonds and her family are now hard at work doing research on how to create the actual product. They’ve reached out to several research and development organizations.
The 11-year-old has also set up a Go Fund Me website to help raise money for the prototype. About $800 has been raised so far. Simonds would ultimately like to raise $20,000.
“She’s very determined,” says her mother.
For the last couple of years, Simonds has been attending Camp Rising Sun and The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp—two Connecticut camps for children with cancer and other serious medical conditions. Her mother says her goal is to donate the IV backpacks to the camps, “so they can still participate in activities and don’t have to sit in the infirmary all day.”
If you would like to donate to support Simonds’ invention, visit her Go Fund Me website.