A simple invention created by a junior at Molloy College is making all the difference for sick children in need of intravenous therapy.
Bobby Lenahan of Moriches created the IV Hero, a paper sleeve decorated with different superheroes that conceals an IV bag, and makes the treatment a little less intimidating for children.
“The IV Hero is a great way to make a scary experience into something fun,” said Lenahan, 20. “Instead of medicine, these kids feel like they’re getting superpowers.”
The IV Hero can be found in the pediatric divisions at Northwell Staten Island University Hospital, and South Nassau Communities Hospital in Oceanside is also considering using it, a spokesman said. Lenahan, an accounting major at Molloy College in Rockville Centre, said he hopes to bring the sleeve to more hospitals.
Lenahan came up with the idea in February and worked with faculty in the Molloy nursing department to refine his product. Soon after, he entered the IV Hero into the New York Business Plan Competition, a contest for college students in New York State. He won at the regional level and took third in the statewide competition, earning $1,500 — enough to start manufacturing his product on a small scale.
By June, Lenahan’s invention, which costs about $1 to make, was being used to help alleviate the stress of hospital care for kids fighting cancer and blood-related disorders at the Staten Island hospital.
“I’ve seen the IV Hero in action, and it’s made a tremendous change for the kids here,” said Carolyn Simone, a spokeswoman for the hospital. “Once we started using it, the children’s moods changed immediately. The kids began smiling; their bodies became more relaxed. It even made the experience more comfortable for the parents and nurses.”
Naissatou Kone, 29, says the device has transformed her daughter Leena’s monthly blood transfusions.
“She would be so cranky and upset when we went to the hospital. No one likes getting pricked, but especially because she’s so young, she really hated it,” Kone said of Leena, 2, who has sickle cell disease. “The IV Hero really changed the way she thinks about the visits. Now she thinks she’s getting powers and doesn’t seem scared of the hospital anymore.”
There are 10 IV Hero designs that all feature a different superhero. “Super Sally,” who sports a bright orange cape and has healing abilities, is Leena’s favorite character.
Lenahan, with the help of a freelance artist, created the gallery of caped crusaders, who all have unique superpowers and costumes. And he has plans to roll out a new sleeve that would allow kids to color in their own superhero.
“I’d love to get this out to every kid in every hospital,” Lenahan said. “It’s such a simple idea, but makes such a huge difference.”