Before losing his battle with leukemia and a childhood brain tumor, Nick Konkler managed to use his time left on earth to help other children fighting cancer. Having battled with cancer since the age of four years-old himself, Nick noticed things hospital staff perhaps didn’t — such as when one little girl at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital was having a difficult time with her IV pole — and he decided to do something about it. The Seattle area teen came up with an innovative ‘lily pad’ IV pole design, not unlike a colorful skateboard, that would allow young children to more easily maneuver the halls of the hospital. His mom, who spoke with TODAY, notes, “You are connected to this pole 24/7, so if you have to get up to do anything, the pole goes with you.” That in mind, Konkler’s breakthrough idea means kids won’t have to struggle to pull a cumbersome IV pole along with them throughout their hospital stay.
Konkler’s plan was to build a lily pad pole for every child at his local hospital, but he never personally got to see the project through. At just 17 years of age, Nick sadly lost his battle with cancer in February of 2015. Amazingly though, Nick’s crafty classmates at Auburn Riverside High School honored his memory and innovative idea by gathering at the school one weekend to build the lily pads while students from art and design classes showed up to paint each IV pad pole by hand. The wooden pads were then given to Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital where they enable younger patients to scoot around the hospital with ease. His mom says, “I think it’s fun to see the kids ride them, because that’s what he would have wanted.” Visit TODAY to watch a video about Nick and his lily pad idea.