For his determination and human-centered approach to design, Mayo native Aaron Hannon, Ireland has been selected as a 2020 JCI Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World (JCI TOYP ) Honoree in the category of Medical Innovation.
Throughout his school years, Aaron Hannon was involved in projects to build everything from pest control innovations to Formula One cars, ultimately traveling to Singapore to represent Ireland at the F1 in Schools World Finals, where he placed third overall.
He began his medical device innovation journey designing for his grandfather, who suffered from severe post-stroke paralysis. He created a voice-controlled automatic shaving device, and founded a start-up to bring that device to more people.
Unfortunately, he failed to attract sufficient funding to proceed, but his passion for learning about the needs of others through user research did not diminish. Aaron co-founded Lily Devices, another start-up aiming to prevent hair loss from chemotherapy.
Through talking directly with patients, he designed a comfortable and elegant device that would prevent hair loss using electrical stimulation techniques, and was successful in securing €500,000 in funding from Enterprise Ireland to continue his work.
The Lily Devices Team has won numerous national and international accolades, like the EIT Health Headstart Grant, as well as first place in CRAASH Barcelona, a Europe-wide accelerator program for medical device start-ups. Aaron was named Mayo’s Best Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2019.
Currently, he has dedicated his time to the needs of patients battling Covid-19. Aaron led two multidisciplinary teams to develop a solution for open-sourced, low cost ventilators. He hopes devices like this can be used in the longer term to reduce inequality in medical device innovation.
Aaron uses his design, engineering and entrepreneurship background to keep patients at the center of the design process and improve their quality of life. He believes in giving back to his community by providing STEM education opportunities to young people, and his motto is “work hard enough, dream big enough, and anything can happen.”
JCI Mayo President, Áine Mc Manamon, said: "I'm absolutely thrilled for Aaron. At such a young age he has already achieved so much and it's going to be exciting to watch him in the next few years to see what he does next. It's exciting for the full JCI Ireland team to have an Irish person as one of the World TOYP Winners but even more special for us here in Mayo and we couldn't be happier for him."
The JCI (Junior Chamber International ) TOYP awards honors ten outstanding young people under the age of 40 each year. These individuals exemplify the spirit of the JCI Mission and have extraordinary accomplishments regarding individual development, business and entrepreneurship, community action and international cooperation. Whether through service, innovation, determination or revolutionary thinking, these young leaders create positive change on a local and global level. The ten honorees will be recognized at the 2020 JCI Awards Ceremony at the 2020 JCI World Congress in November. For more information, visit www.jciireland.ie