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How One Teen Changed Kids' Lives Even After His Death

It's been about a year since 17-year-old Nick Konkler died after batting leukemia and childhood brain tumor, but his dream to help sick children continues to be a reality.

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Before he died in February 2015, Nick hoped to make a "lily pad" for every child at the hospital during his high school shop class. He had noticed a little girl at Mary Bridge Children's Hospital struggling with her IV pole, and realized that wooden pads placed at the base of the poles would let kids move around the hospital more easily and turn it into an adventure.

"You are connected to this pole 24/7, so if you have to get up to do anything, the pole goes with you," Nick's mom, Christina, told TODAY.

While Nick didn't live to complete the project, more than a dozen wood shop class and art class students from Auburn Riverside High School knew about his goal and worked to fulfill it. Now, thanks to the teens who put in extra hours to work on the project as well as support from the "See Ya Later" Foundation, colorful lily pads are available at children's hospitals throughout Seattle.

"At one point (Nick) said, 'Have I made an impact?'" Christina told local NBC affiliate KING5. "For a 17-year-old kid to ask that question, it's pretty amazing that he was worried that he hadn't made an impact. He would be in love with this project. This would be a very big source of pride for him."

Nick braved health challenges and was in and out of hospitals since he had a brain tumor at the age of 4, and later battled acute myelogenous leukemia, a rapidly progressing cancer of the blood and bone marrow that causes abnormal production of blood cells and interferes with fighting infection.

But he never let his suffering get in the way of making sure everyone else was comfortable and happy.

"He's the nicest person I know," friend Derek Hart told InFlight, the high school's student newspaper. "He's constantly giving back to the people around him. He makes every environment as positive as it can be, and he helps anyone that needs it."

As Nick showed, even the little things matter, and dreaming can make all the difference.

Photographs by: Today / Big Climb Seattle / KING5

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