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The Lily Pad Project: February 14, 2017

One teenager’s idea is making a big impact here in Southwest Florida. Nick Konkler battled cancer for years as a child. Before losing his battle to cancer last year, he came up with an idea to make cancer treatment a little easier for children.

They’re painted in bright colors with drawings of sea creatures and fun facts written on the side. They’re called lily pads. A design that helps children in the hospital travel with their IV poles.

Jessica Sauer, administrative secretary of planning and design at Lee Health, says the project started back in 2015 with Nick Konkler. “He was a patient in a hospital up north. He thought of these lily pads as a way for him or other patients to be moving around the hospital.”

Nick died before his dream became a reality. But students at FGCU decided to bring his idea to life at Lee Health. “This one really hits home for us because we’ve lived here all our lives. Our younger sister was born at Gulf Coast, she was born at Cape, so anything we can do to give back to the community now we’re all for it,” said Sauer.

When children arrive at the new Golisano Children’s Hospital and they need an IV pole, they can choose which lily pad they want to attach to the bottom of the pole. The lily pad gives them a place to sit as they move around the hospital, but it also helps eliminate some of the fear during treatment. “It’s very difficult when you have an illness or a chronic disease where you’re walking around and you can’t find a place to sit down. Sometimes sitting down in a chair becomes really difficult for those young and tender patients so this is a great solution to that.

Businesses have donated supplies to help students at FGCU create around 80 lily pads for the opening of the new Golisano Children’s Hospital. An idea sparked by a teen is now helping dozens of children.


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