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Child who died from cancer inspired new device used at Phoenix Children’s

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PHOENIX — Amanda Hope was 9 when she was diagnosed with leukemia.

She underwent chemotherapy for three years, but found out when she was 12 that she had a brain tumor.

Before she died in March 2012, she expressed a few ideas for helping other kids in her situation, leading her mom, Lorraine Tallman, to found the nonprofit Amanda Hope Rainbow Angels in Phoenix.

Amanda wanted to make it less difficult for nurses to access her port, a device implanted under the skin used for treatments.

“A lot of the emergency room nurses had a hard time accessing her port, so it brought a lot of stress and trauma to her,” Tallman told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Monday.

“She just hated it … she would cry knowing she had to go in and get her port accessed with a needle and was afraid they would miss again, and it was a problem with most all of the patients.”

Tallman spoke with workers at Bard, a medical device manufacturer, and said she wished they could make something to stabilize the needle so nurses couldn’t miss.

“It took a few years, but their engineers came up with this amazing port stabilizer,” Tallman said. “We kind of fondly refer to it as the Amanda needle.”

Now, nurses can place the stabilizer over a port, click a button and have the needle go straight into the port.

The stabilizer was approved for use late last year and is now being used at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, among other facilities across the country.

“The kids are loving it because they don’t have to get multiple pokes in their chest,” Tallman said.

Amanda Hope Rainbow Angels recently won two innovation awards for its work with the device.

Tallman and Amanda also created Comfycozy’s for Chemo, a line of apparel that gives nurses easy access to patients’ ports so they don’t need to fully undress.

Tallman said both the clothing line and stabilizer are helping many children have an easier, less stressful time getting the chemotherapy treatments they need — all thanks to Amanda speaking up.

“It’s just one little girl wanting things to be better, and asking why,” she said.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Ashley Flood contributed to this report. 

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