Cinde Dolphin’s experience with cancer was far from ordinary. She faced the daunting diagnosis not just once, but four times. Through her battles, she discovered an innovative solution to a common problem faced by patients: postsurgical drains. Dolphin’s journey with cancer and her desire to give back led her to create the Kili Medical Drain Carrier, a comfortable and practical way for patients to carry their drains. This invention not only provides a solution for patients but also promotes entrepreneurship in third-world countries by employing women in small businesses to craft these unique aprons.
Dolphin’s first encounter with cancer came at the age of 40 when she underwent a lumpectomy, chemotherapy, and radiation treatment. However, her relief was short-lived as cancer returned seven years later. This time, she faced a different type of breast cancer. Despite not requiring chemotherapy during her second bout, fate had other plans for Dolphin. She was diagnosed with cancer for the third time and underwent a mastectomy. Her plastic surgeon, Dr. David Sahar, explained that they chose the DIEP flap breast reconstruction procedure due to the risks associated with implant reconstruction after radiation.
While recovering from her surgeries, Dolphin found the surgical drains attached to her body to be incredibly inconvenient, embarrassing, and awkward. These drains, necessary for removing excess fluids from the surgical site, posed challenges for patients like Dolphin. They struggled to conceal the drains with clothing, and the drains themselves reduced mobility. Inspired by her own experience, Dolphin designed the Kili Medical Drain Carrier, a soft, water-resistant zippered pouch worn like an apron. This innovative solution allows postoperative patients to carry their drains comfortably, enabling them to move more freely and shower more easily.
Dolphin’s desire to give back led her to volunteer with a women’s microloan group in Africa. Her time spent there and the strong bonds she formed with the hardworking women inspired her to integrate vibrant African fabrics into the design of the Kili Carrier. The women, based at the foot of Kilimanjaro, affectionately known as Kili, became the namesake of the carrier. Dolphin’s invention not only provides practical support for patients but also empowers women in third-world countries by employing them in small businesses to create the lively aprons.
The impact of the Kili Medical Drain Carrier extends beyond its innovative design. The product, patented in 2021, has been well-received by patients, providing them with a much-needed solution. Dolphin’s generosity knows no bounds, as she occasionally sends carriers to patients for free when they cannot afford them. Her legacy goes beyond her invention, as she is a devoted community advocate, supporting Afghan refugees, vulnerable women, and various charities. Dolphin believes that healing comes from helping others and hopes that her actions inspire others to do the same.
Cinde Dolphin’s story is one of resilience and compassion. Despite facing relentless adversity, she turned a challenging circumstance into a force for good. Her journey can serve as an inspiration to cancer survivors and anyone facing their own challenges. Dolphin’s determination and desire to make a positive impact in the world are a testament to the strength of the human spirit.