Eleven-year-old Kylie Simonds of Naugatuck sought to raise $50,000 to manufacture a working prototype of the pediatric chemo back-pack she invented. In just five months, she has. Her gofundme campaign, which began on July 22, now stands at $53, 134. Kylie is a cancer survivor, and designed an I.V. backpack for children on chemotherapy, receiving transfusions, or other medical reasons. Her goal was to improve mobility – to make moving around easier, eliminating the traditional I.V. poles.
Kylie was challenged to come up with an invention through her school (Cross Street School) and the Connecticut Invention Convention, held annually. More than 130 Connecticut schools participate, creating over 10,000 young inventors each year. Kylie's invention was chosen by her middle school teachers, among others, and she attended the Invention Convention, where over 700 of the top inventions were displayed and many selected for awards and recognition.
Kylie's invention received four awards, including the "Patent Award", the highest award at the convention. The Patent Award has allowed Kylie's invention to be submitted to the US Patent & Trademark Office with the sponsor covering all costs.
Her accomplishment was recently noted in the Bulletin of the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering, and has been featured in news media stories in Connecticut and beyond. Last month, she was among ten young people (she was the youngest) honored as “women in tech” at the Women of the Year Awards sponsored by Glamour magazine.
With help from her father, Kylie is now doing R&D to make the prototype. She has found numerous infusion pumps that will suit this idea but the cost for them is thousands of dollars. For example, the controller device will need to be customized to be mobile and also small enough to fit in a backpack. Additionally, the backpack will need to be designed to support both the IV infusion pump and the carry rod.
Kylie, the oldest of three children in her family, underwent 46 weeks of chemotherapy and is in remission from rhabdomyosarcoma, a cancer that affects the soft tissues and connective tissues or bones.
“I used to have to use the IV poles and I always tripped over all the wires,” she said. “It was hard to walk around and I always had to have someone push it for me because I was kind of weak when I was in chemo.”
She hopes to begin production of lines of the backpacks for boys and girls, which will incorporate animal features into the design to make them fun for young children. Next would be researching designs for a backpack line for teens and young adults.
A total of 1,289 people have donated to her fundraising initiative, which remains active, according to the webpage. Kylie has indicated that all donations in excess of her $50,000 goal will go towards the manufacturing of the “first usable I.V. backpacks. EVERY PENNY!”