A teenager with cancer designed this brilliant device to help other children suffering from the illness
If you ask a large group of people what their goal in life is, you'll probably get different answers from every single one of them. However, no matter what what we aim to achieve in our short time on this mortal plane, most of us will share a common desire: to be remembered.
Unfortunately, some people don't get as much time as others. Nick Konkler from Auburn, Washington state, was one such person, as he'd suffered from cancer since the age of four. At the time he passed away aged 17 in 2015, the young man was fighting Secondary AML Leukemia for the third time.
Despite not even making it out of his teenage years, though, Nick managed to achieve something amazing.
While in hospital receiving treatment for his illness, Nick spent a great deal of time on a drip. Almost all cancer patients have to be hooked up to an IV for hours at a time, which can make it difficult to get around - especially for young children.
But, instead of accepting this as just one more issue he had to deal with, Nick decided to do something about it.
During his technology classes at high school, the forward-thinking student invented a device that would make it easier for young children to move about with their essential IV drips. The concept was simple: a thick U-shaped platform that would hook onto the bottom of the IV pole and rest on the wheels, therefore providing children with a place to sit while somebody else wheeled their drip for them.
Nick called it 'the lily pad', and used all the time he had at school to build dozens of the devices for patients at Mary Bridge Children's Hospital.
Tragically, Nick passed away shortly after beginning his project - but his legacy lived on. After his death, Nick's fellow classmates worked to build 51 lily pads, which are still in use at the hospital today.
In an interview about about her son's achievement, Nick's mom explained the utility of his invention, as well as her thoughts on how the innovative student would feel about seeing so many kids' quality of life being improved by his idea:
"You are connected to this pole 24/7, so if you have to get up to do anything, the pole goes with you ... I think it's fun to see the kids ride them, because that's what he [Nick] would have wanted. He would have wanted to see all the kids, you know, out of bed walking or riding the lily pad."
"No matter what he was doing he always had a smile on his face, always helping people, always looking out for others," said one of Nick's friends. "And even when it was the hardest time for him and other people could tell, he would always make time for other people."
After Nick's death, the Mayor of Auburn, proclaimed March 7 as the“Nicholas R. Konkler Day of Remembrance”, meaning that, regardless of how little time he had in life, his memory will always live on.