12 Year Old Cancer Survivor’s Vision of Mobility
**Exciting Update*** Kylie’s company has developed a very promising partnership with CJ Projects, the makers of the Pillow Pet which has sold hundreds of millions of dollars of their product in a single year. The CJ Projects designers are busy working on a prototype! We’ll keep tracking this to share updates.**
When we think of new mobile devices, phones come to mind. But when you have cancer, being mobile takes on a whole new meaning, especially for children.
There are close to 500,000 U.S. children living with cancer today. Fifty thousand of them receive chemotherapy medicines through an IV machine. Kylie was one of those children, diagnosed at the age of eight with Rhabdomyosarcoma. She spent countless hours connected to an IV machine.
With the fresh perspective of a child, Kylie saw a problem that needed a solution. The IV machines were cumbersome and totally constrained her movement. Some treatments can last four to five hours during which the young patient has to sit confined and attached to the clunky machine.
When her school challenged the students to come up with a solution to an everyday problem Kylie created a prototype of her idea for a chemo-backpack. This invention would give mobility to kids undergoing cancer treatment. Her concept ended up being selected at her school competition to move on to Connecticut’s Invention Convention. There she won the patent award and that set her further on her path, along with her family, to raise money to build a real prototype.
I spoke with this amazing cancer survivor and inventor to learn more about her vision and hopes for the product.
BG: You have been running a campaign on gofundme.com to raise money. How will you use the funds?
Kylie Simond’s mom: We are raising the money to create the prototype and any leftover money will go toward donating the backpacks. Kylie has gone to a camp for kids with cancer. At the camp the kids can get their treatment while they are there, but they have to sit in the infirmary. If she donates backpacks, then the kids can continue to participate in the activities while they are getting their treatments.
Until you experience cancer with a child, you have they no idea there is a need for this. Now that we have gotten the idea out there, we keep hearing additional uses. At the school science fair one mother came up and explained that her son needed a feeding tube when he was younger. She explained the backpack would have worked for them because he was gravity fed and it would have improved that time in their lives. Other needs parents have told us about include TPN (saline + calorie treatment), antibiotics for lyme disease, and many other uses.
BG: What are you thinking for the design of the backpack for tweens and teens? (question from Kira, 11)
Kylie Simonds: I was thinking something colorful, with different logos. I’d love to do a backpack with Bethany Mota, a teen fashion designer who started on youtube. She has a line that’s sold at Aeropostale. She was cyber bullied and that’s when she started to do her own youtube channel.
We’d also like to set it up so that when a family buys the backpack, they could customize it for what their child likes – if you love Coach, get that if you love batman you could get that on it.
BG: How are things going on the development of the prototype?
KS’s mom: There are a lot of great people on board who are helping us to try to make a working prototype. We have people from a range of different fields involved, including the folks from the Pillow Pets Company. We are doing a lot of research to find out what pumps hospitals use already so that they won’t need to buy different pumps when they provide the backpack to a patient. We know having different pumps would be a barrier to adoption.
Another great idea from the mind of a young girlpreneur. We hope with the support of her family and other adults who understand this business, they will be able to bring Kylie’s very thoughtful product to market. Go Girlpreneur!
One of the characters in our book “Be Great” coincidentally is named Kylie too! Our book is now available for purchase. Ignite the imagination of the girlpreneur in your life.