Lily Pads Provide Rolling Perch for Pediatric Patients

A Young Cancer Patient's Idea Inspires Others

There’s not a frog in sight, but the lily pads at Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida are often occupied by special guests—pediatric patients who need to get from place to place.

The wooden lily pads provide a place for patients to rest as they roll down the hallway on the way to a medical test or back to their room. Sisters Marisa and Jessica Sauer are in the process of creating more than 80 lily pads for Golisano patients when the new facility opens in May.

“Most people don’t know we’re doing this,” Marisa Sauer says. “Jessica and I have decided to take on the challenge of creating a large number of lily pads because we know the effects of a project like this in our community. We have worked directly with Sherwin Williams and Raymond Lumber of North Fort Myers and have received donations in full. We also received a grant from the Center for Environmental and Sustainability at Florida Gulf Coast University.”

The idea originated with a 17-year-old cancer patient in Auburn, Wash. Nick Konkler fought cancer his entire life and knew the challenges of being a young patient in a hospital setting. He had the idea of building a decorative wooden platform to place on the bottom of IV poles for kids to have a safe place to sit as they were walked around the hospital while connected to their treatment.

He began by creating a lily pad for himself in his wood shop class. Nick died in February 2015 and was unable to bring his idea to a broader audience, but his classmates and teacher have spread the word, and the pattern, on the internet.

“We were eager to get involved in any way that we could and our first thought initially jumped to our hometown,” Marisa says.

The sisters are eager to roll out their lily pads for the first patients when the new hospital opens in May. “As a student at Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU), I participated in Community Engagement Day in the Spring of 2016 where I presented our first lily pad and our future plans to the student body, friends, family and faculty of FGCU,” Marisa says. “This project has been accepted with such warmth and happiness.”

Each floor and unit of the new hospital has its own unique color scheme with animals so Marisa and Jessica followed the environmental trend and used many of the same bright colors. “We also included a fact about the animal on the bottom of each pad so patients are exposed to something that is very interesting to learn as they are in and out of the hospitals,” Jessica says.

Tags: Golisano Children's Hospital of Southwest Florida, pediatrics, FGCU