One woman’s effort to save children

Photo by Alastair Baker

Lisa Cords with her medikids designed

tags that can carry essential medical and contact information

for emergency services when dealing with a child in need.

Also in the photograph is the medikids backpack and

a medikids medical bag.

All it took to change Lisa Cords’ life was a drive through a May snowstorm from Denver to Red Lodge with her recently adopted baby, Lily, who had been born with a rare congenital heart defect called Transposition of the Great Arteries.

By the time Lily was a month old she had undergone 3 heart surgeries.

On this day in 2008 Cords mind worked in some treacherous thoughts about snow related accidents.

“I thought if I got hurt there is nothing to say what medications she is on or who to contact,” said Cords. “Until it happens to you, you think I’ll be able to tell people, or someone will miraculously know where you get your care or what my daughter is taking.”

The moment she returned to Red Lodge she began her research into finding a simple way to alert emergency services by the quickest way possible to a person’s medical history and contacts. All she found was little tags to place on a car seat, too small to include all the necessary information.

She continued on her quest, and looked at medical IDs.

“I wear (medical) jewelry but it isn’t allowed for under five-year-olds, it’s a choking hazard,” she said.

She started to design medical tags and called the concept medikids.

“The first was an envelope with information inside and laminated and pinned to the car seat,” said Cords. This was discarded because once the seat was taken out people could see the medical history.

A serendipitous path led Cords to a manufacturer, and she had samples made.

“This went through 8 different renditions before finally landing on the right design for the medical tag,” said Cords.

In the meantime she started going to Easterseals in Chicago. This organization serves approximately 1.5 million people with disabilities providing therapy, early intervention services, camps to support families, caregivers, Veterans and seniors. Through this Cords connect- ed with Sharon Pike, a family liaison officer with Eas- terseals, and that led to work- ing with the national director for rehab who further liaised with Cords on bag designs and other things families needed.

“They said ‘Thank God’ that someone is finally doing this, “ said Cords. “This is what parents need but being a novel product it is hard to get the word out.”

Cords busied herself checking the demographics of those that would benefit from medikids tags.

“I took the stats of all the major childhood diseases and the number of hospital beds, (kids) typically stay three days, and it was 32 million,” she said. “These children need to be given the tags. Hospitals give you so many free things.”

The stumbling block behind this venture is finding a backer who is willing to oversee the production of these medikids tags as well as a light and durable backpack she has recently designed to hold all the all the necessary medical needs.

“The back packs clip onto the back of wheel chairs, they are designed to hold everything parents needs, replac- ing the three or four bags usually seen,” said Cords. “The straps are designed to distribute the weight.”

The backpack opens up to reveal several compartments, has insulated padding to keep items cold and a place for a laptop.

“Just getting through TSA you have to have the right volume of medicine. This backpack is designed for travel and easier for par- ents,” she said.

Cords continues on her mission to find that one per- son who will cover the cost of the production so these medikids kits can be given to children free.

“I’ve been giving them away to families to see if I’m on the right track and had such good feed back,” said Cords. “One person said it saved their child because they had the medical list right there.”

To contact Lisa Cords call (307) 272-1928 or email lcords@medikidsid.com