By John Lauritsen, WCCO-TV

COTTAGE GROVE, Minn. (WCCO) — Looking out for your younger sister or brother is a natural thing. But a Cottage Grove girl did something that made life a whole lot easier for her younger sister.

When Sydney Pederson’s sister Paige was going through chemotherapy for leukemia, the 11-year-old came up with a pretty neat invention.

In 2008, Paige was diagnosed with leukemia. A “port-a-cath” was inserted into Paige’s chest so doctors could give her chemotherapy. Because of this treatment method, she would have to take off her shirt for almost every appointment.

“So she would have the needle in, and a cord hooked up to a pole with the chemo in. She would have to tool around the clinic without a shirt on,” said Sydney and Paige’s mom, Anne.

But as big sisters are known to do, Sydney was looking out for Paige.

“I thought of this because sometimes she would be scared and wouldn’t want to take off her shirt and stuff,” said Sydney.

When she needed to come up with an invention for her fifth grade science project, Sydney came up with the “port shirt.” It is a T-shirt with a removable patch — so doctors could get to the ‘port-a-cath’ while the patient’s port shirt stays on.

Paige is now cancer-free so Sydney’s port shirt finds itself at the Science Museum in St. Paul.

“I was very happy that it got into the Science Museum. And there were also some other cool inventions,” Sydney said.

The port shirt beat out hundreds of others and is one of six inventions on display right now. Sisters sometimes fight over clothes, but that was far from a problem in this case.

“She is nice and caring. I’m feeling a lot better now. It’s boring if you don’t have a sister,” said 8-year-old Paige.

The girls’ mother said she couldn’t be more proud.

“I was very proud of her. Sydney is a very caring kid. I was just really proud that she would think of something that would help her little sister,” Anne said.

Sydney’s 91-year-old great-grandmother helped her with the sewing. They designed several patches with different designs, so kids can mix and match.

Paige’s treatment was ending at the same time Sydney came up with this, but they are hoping others can benefit from the port shirt.

John Lauritsen

Comments (3)
  1. Barney says:

    Nice going, Sydney! I had a port and encountered the same problems as Paige. Wish I had heard of your invention at that time!

  2. Dave Seavy says:

    You both are in inspiration! Paige for having the inner-strength to battle the cancer, and Sydney for showing such compassion and love for your sister. I hope the futuer holds only good things for both of you.

  3. Kathleen Schneibel says:

    What a sister! You should be sooooo proud, you are an inspiration to us all.

    Keep up the good work Sydney – I have no doubts you will go far