Girl with autoimmune disease creates teddy bears that hide IV bags
Ella Casano is no stranger to needles.
When she was 7, she was diagnosed with a condition called Idiopathic Thrombocytopenia Purpura, or ITP.
ITP is a condition that causes unusually low platelet levels and excessive bleeding and bruising. For most kids with ITP, the condition will eventually go away.
That wasn’t the case for Ella. Now 12 years old, she needs to get IV infusions every eight weeks and can’t participate in certain activities when her levels are low because of the risk of bleeding.
In fifth grade, when she had to come up with a business idea for a project at school, she started thinking about these infusions. The tubes and needles look scary to kids, so she decided to design a product that would make medical experiences less intimidating.
Ella created an invention called the “Medi Teddy,” an IV cover shaped like a teddy bear. The back of the cover is mesh, so doctors and nurses can monitor medication administration.
Ella’s mom Meg said her daughter was adamant Medi Teddy be a not-for-profit organization, so she could give back to other kids going through similar experiences.
The Connecticut resident is raising $5,000 through GoFundMe to fulfill the minimum order of 500 units with her distributor. She plans to donate all the bears to other kids in the hospital.
In the future, she hopes to design additional animals and work with sports teams or other organizations to design personalized clothing for the Medi Teddies.
Meg said the support for her daughter’s project has been “moving.”
She describes Ella as hardworking, introspective and thoughtful.
“She has this amazing maturity and grace,” she said.