Being in the hospital is stressful, exhausting, boring and to be honest—scary. Especially if you are a child. No child wants to be hospitalized and spend days looking at four walls.
Maybe the child could go to the playroom, play a game or even go for a while. But what happens if the child is too weak to even take a walk around the unit or visit the playroom?
Nick Konkler had spent his entire life in and out of the hospital. At the age of four he was diagnosed with a brain tumor and then later Leukemia. As he spent time in the hospital, an IV pole was with him every step of the way…
“You are connected to this pole 24/7, so if you have to get up to do anything, the pole goes with you,” Nick’s mom, Christina told Today (source from Today Show).
During one of his visits to Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital, Nick observed a little girl trying to walk with her pole, but she was too weak to do so. That was when the lightbulb went off.
Nick’s idea was to build a “lily pad” for the IV pole. “lily pads” are a skateboard like object that attaches to the base of the IV pole. This allows patients to get around the hospital easier. They can sit on the board while someone pushes them or the child can walk next to their pole and ride when they become tired.
These boards also add a sense of normally to the child’s life. By having the opportunity to “skate” through the halls of the hospital, and to have their favorite character with them makes the child feel more at ease during their stay.
However, before Nick could see his idea come to life, he passed away in February of 2015. After his death, many of the students at his high school came together one Saturday to help finish the project Nick thought so much of. These students helped build Nick’s legacy to the many children of Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital.
Eventually the “lily pads” were complete and delivered to Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital; where children welcomed their new ride with laughter and smiles. Now children could ride in style down the hallways of the hospital.
Happy Child Life Month! Until next time!