In February 2015, a great kid passed away. His name was Nick Konkler, a student at Auburn Riverside High School in Auburn, Washington who designed and developed a project to help others that would grow bigger than himself. As a child, he was frequently in and out of the hospital, fighting a brain tumor and two bouts of AML Leukemia. However, Nick never let these difficult conditions put him down. He constantly looked for ways to brighten up other’s lives. While in the hospital, he noticed that small children had a difficult time walking with their large and cumbersome IV poles. Often times, these IV poles would be drab and unfriendly which he believed made hospitals more intimidating for kids. Nick wanted to make the Lilypads easier to deal with and more enjoyable, so he designed a wooden platform that fit on the bottom of IV poles, where kids could sit and be pushed around. He planned on completing his project and putting the Lilypads into use when he got out of the hospital. Unfortunately, Nick never did get to see his project to completion.

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That same year, the wife of Westlake Assistant Principal Casey Ryan read about the project online and asked Team 2468 if we would like to start up the project in our local community. We wholeheartedly agreed to continue Nick’s legacy. Since 2015, Team 2468 has brought together students and the community to design, handmake, and paint wooden seats for IV poles (“Lilypads”), so that children can have a safe and fun place to sit when moving with their heavy IV poles around hospitals. Westlake High School students handmake Lilypads, while local businesses and community members donate funds and materials. We have donated more than 80 Lilypads to hospitals in Austin, San Antonio, and Dallas, and plans to donate around the country, having already donated Lilypads to the Subacute Saratoga Children’s Hospital in California. In the future, we’d like to continue to expand the project, to other robotics teams in the state. For more information or for ways to support the project, contact lilypad@frc2468.org

Lillypads